Sarasota News Leader


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Sarasota News Leader
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Rachel Brown Hackney ( Publisher )
New Sheriff Publishing, Inc.
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Sarasota, FL
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July 12, 2013
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Robert S. Hackney, General Manager(Oct. 26, 2012)

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COVER THE SARASOTA News Leader Vol. 2, No. 42 July 4, 2014 Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. Inside PUTTING LIVES AT RISK PROMENADE PLANS A JUMP IN THE EXPENSE




Rachel Brown Hackney Editor and Publisher Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor Stan Zimmerman City Editor Roger Drouin County Editor Roger Norman Schimmel Staff Photographer Fran Palmeri Contributing Writer Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer Elinor Rogosin A&E Writer John Riley Editorial Cartoonist Vicki Chatley Copy Editor Letters To the Editor Cleve Posey Production Manager / Graphic Designer Robert S. Hackney Opinion Editor / General Manager Advertising Sales Subscription Services Press Releases & News Tips MASTHEAD The Sarasota News Leader is a registered trademark of New Sheriff Publishing, Inc., which publishes The Sarasota News Leader Copyright 2014 Sarasota News Leader. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Member National Digital Press Association P.O. Box 5099 Sarasota, FL 34277 (941) 227-1080


I should give up on trying to nish an issue early when a holiday is approaching. It seems the very thought inspires the software gods and other outside inuences to conspire against me. Let me just add that putting together this issue was particularly challeng ing, so I will be grateful for a July Fourth respite. Now that I have gotten that out of my system All of us at the News Leader regularly have to put our gray matter through workouts. When I was in journalism school, that fact of life was what professors commonly referred to as general beat reporting, the capability of covering a wide range of topics day after day. Fortunately, the longer you are in the news business, the more knowledge you acquire. A long-time reporter such as Stan Zimmerman probably could write books on all the material he has stored away in his gray matter. Several times over recent weeks, I have had the occasion to tell a person I was interviewing that I understood very well what he or she was say ing because of experiences I have had in the past. As we pull together tidbits from our brains to supplement details from earlier articles on a subject, we are able to provide you with much more comprehensive reports than you can nd in other publications. Sadly, such depth of news coverage seems to be disap pearing everywhere. And that is all the more reason we take great pride in what we can offer you each week. On that note, we at the News Leader wish all of you a very happy Fourth of July. Editor and Publisher WELCOME


PUTTING LIVES AT RISK PROMENADE PLANS NEWS PUTTING LIVES AT RISK 8 Neither Health Department warning signs nor the Bobs Boathouse management is keeping customers out of the body of water designed as a fountain Rachel Brown Hackney PROMENADE PLANS 13 In the latest version of plans for the northwest corner of Stickney Point and South Tamiami Trail, Benderson proposes a hotel and shopping center Roger Drouin A JUMP IN THE EXPENSE 20 The renourishment of south Siesta Keys beach could cost as much as $18 million, well above the original estimate Rachel Brown Hackney AN EARFUL ON 2050 26 Public workshop attendees pan proposed changes to Sarasota 2050, but will it matter? Cooper Levey-Baker A DIAMOND PLAN 30 Residents are unsure whether a bold interchange plan for Interstate 75 and University Parkway will work, but they say something has to be done, with trafc intensication anticipated Roger Drouin AN INTERIM SOLUTION 36 A short-term plan to add more sand to Lido Beach is well received, but a more ambitious Army Corps of Engineers proposal remains controversial Roger Drouin NEEDED: A RESOLUTION 43 The county commissioners will discuss the future and possible sale to North Port of Warm Mineral Springs during their July 8 afternoon session Rachel Brown Hackney TABLE OF CONTENTS Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article COVER PHOTO CREDIT Bombs Bursting In Air Robert Hackney


SIESTA SEEN OPINION A GROWING CITY TAX BASE 48 The overall property value of the City of Sarasota and its special districts is up more than 5 percent Stan Zimmerman ROADS AND DRIVERS LICENSES 52 The County Commission allocates more money to paving for the next scal year and agrees to pay for renovations needed by the Tax Collectors Ofce Rachel Brown Hackney IM NOT GIVING UP ON THIS 58 LGBT activist warns Sarasota County shell take her anti-discrimination cause to the voters Cooper Levey-Baker SCHOOL BOARD RACE ROUNDUP 60 One candidate cites school safety as top issue; another les complaint against Kathy Dent Cooper Levey-Baker FIRST INTERVIEW WITH A NEW CHIEF 63 Todd Kerkering is the rst emergency manager for the City of Sarasota Stan Zimmerman PROTECTING WHATS LEFT 68 Lido residents are fretting over the potential for Super Boat Grand Prix race watchers to trample their dunes Stan Zimmerman CALL IT A FOUR ACES AGENDA 71 A request for a nightclub conditional use, a proposed bayfront policy, changes on an advisory board and homelessness issues are on the City Commissions July 7 agenda Stan Zimmerman AN UNWELCOME POSSIBILITY 77 The Supervisor of Elections says the county may be forced to purchase new voting machines because of a company decision not to keep servicing the existing ones Rachel Brown Hackney Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article SHARE


NEWS BRIEFS SIESTA SEEN 81 Siesta Key Village Association members urge expanded marketing of the new island bus service; the outdoor display issue will start its county consideration process in August; and the 2014 Crystal Classic dates have been announced Rachel Brown Hackney NEWS BRIEFS 89 CRIME BLOTTER 104 OPINION EDITORIAL 110 Independence Day mostly for the independently wealthy COMMENTARY 113 Ode to Derek Harriet Cuthbert ALL THE REST ... FOR ALL VETERANS 114 Members of the community come together for the dedication of Patriot Plaza at Sarasota National Cemetery Staff Reports COMMUNITY CALENDAR 123 SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS 125 Click Any Headline To Go Directly To That Article FOR ALL VETERANS Enjoy The Sarasota News Leader Anytime Day Or Night


In spite o f its law rms assertion that the businesss owners and managers would keep patrons out of a body of water that received a Sarasota County Building Department per mit as a fountain, Bobs Boathouse frequently has customers including small children in the water, as documented by photographs, The Sarasota News Leader has learned. Because the establish ment has not abided by a Cease and Desist Order from the Florida Department of Health in Sarasot a County department inspectors erected signs around the perimeter of the facil ity on June 26, Tom Higginbotham, director of environmental health for the department, told the News Leader that afternoon. In a follow-up interview on June 30, Higgin botham pointed out that one of his chie f concerns has been parents allow ing children into the water. That was over the line, he added of management not tak ing st eps to prevent A photo taken at Bobs Boathouse on June 21 shows two young children in the pool. Contributed photo PUTTING LIVES AT RISK NEITHER HEALTH DEPARTMENT WARNING SIGNS NOR THE BOBS BOATHOUSE MANAGEMENT IS KEEPING CUSTOMERS OUT OF THE BODY OF WATER DESIGNED AS A FOUNTAIN If I were there with my child, my child would not go into that water body. Tom Higginbotham Environmental Health Director Florida Department of Health In Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor NEWS


such activity. If I were there with my child, my child would not go into that water body. Health Department staff has no knowledge whether anti-entrapment devices have been installed in the facility to prevent a child from being sucked into a circulation sys tem, for example, he told the News Leader Higginbotham called that a major concern, noting, We dont know of any safety equip ment [on-site]. Further, he said, no documentation has been provided by Bobs Boathouse to indicate the body of water is being maintained at the proper pH or treated with chemicals. Higginbotham referenced a May 30 letter to the Health Department from Amanda Kenney, a legal assistant wit h the Aker Law Firm, saying, Bobs has taken and is taking action to keep patrons out of the fountain. He added, Theyre not doing what they should do. Its denitely going to become a legal matter at this point. When people blatantly disregard statutes and rules that are in place to protect the public health and agrantly do so, it certainly is frustrating and sets a bad example, and they can be putting peoples lives at risk. When the News Leader reached James Aker, the Bobs Boathouse attorney in Sarasota, on July 1 to ask for a comment about the situa tion, Aker replied, I dont care to speak about it. Thank you. Higginbotham said Health Department inspectors drove out to Bobs Boathouse, located at 5515 S. Tamiami Trail, on June 27 A number of people were in the water at Bobs Boathouse on June 22. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 9


and again on June 30 to check on whether the signs they put up were still there. They were, he conrmed. Unfortunately, it doesnt seem like its doing a lot to keep people out of the water. On one wall of the body of water, as seen in a photo provided to the News Leader a mes sage that appears to be hand-written says, Decorative fountain. Enter at own risk. The signs erected by the Health Department cite a state statute governing public swim ming pools, a section of the county ordinance and the phone number of the departments Environmental Health Services ofce. (See the accompanying photos.) The part of the county code to which the signs refer deals with required water testing, among other facets of public pool operations. For example, that code says, Public pool water shall be free of coliform bacteria contamination, and it cites state laws regarding chemical standards. THE LEGAL PROCESS Higginbotham has been in contact with the departments legal counsel regarding the sit uation, he explained. The next step will be to send an administrative complaint to the responsible person for Bobs Boathouse. However, as he learned with issuing the Cease and Desist Order, he pointed out, determin ing who that person is can be problematic, given the number of people associated with the business. Sarasota County staff cited a similar reason for the failure to collect water and sewer utility fees prior to issuing the establishment a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy last fall. Kent Macci, environmental health supervisor with the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County, prepares to erect a warning sign at Bobs Boathouse on June 26. Photo courtesy Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County A sign posted at Bobs Boathouse alerts patrons to the fact that the water body is closed according to state and county laws. Photo courtesy Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 10


After the admin istrative complaint has been served to the appropriate person, Higginbotham continued, the department will await the scheduling of a hearing in 12th Judicial Circuit Court in Sarasota. Well have to go and present the case, including photo graphs and testimony, he said. Then it will be up to the judge to decide on the ne for each day a violation continues. The maximum daily amount is $500, he pointed out. However, a judge could decide to impose a ne of $100 per day. Afterward, it will be a matter of trying to reach a resolution with the owners of the business, Higgi nbotham said. Once the owners and the Health Department settle on a satisfactory compromi se, he added, then we can discuss the money they owe us for all the trouble theyve caused. He pointed out, It ends up being very time-consuming and very labor-intensive for the departments attorney and her staff. Higginbotham also concedes the frustration on the part of neighbors in the vicinity of Bobs Boathouse who would like to have the issue resolved as soon as possible. I under stand the conc ern out there. % A number of people were in the pool at one point during the weekend of June 28-29, as documented by a witness. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 11


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Benderson Developme nt is seeking a rezone that would allow the company to build a largescale retail shopping center and a hotel on 24 acres it owns at the intersection of South Tamiami Trail and Stickne y Point Road. The lar ge-scale Siesta Promenade is designed to become an attraction for locals and tourists alike who will shop, dine and seek accommodations at the site of a former mobile home park. Preliminary plans show a 150-room hotel and 250,000 square-feet of retail space in 12 structures. We see the projec t as a neighborhood center that will provide a blend of daily services with retaile rs and restau rants that visitors to the area will also be excited to visit, said Benderson Director of Development Todd Mathes. But residents living in the Pine Shores Benderson purchased the 24 acres in 2005. It was the site of Pine Shores Estates Mobile Home Park. Photo by Roger Drouin PROMENADE PLANS IN THE LATEST VERSION OF PLANS FOR THE NORTHWEST CORNER OF STICKNEY POINT AND SOUTH TAMIAMI TRAIL, BENDERSON PROPOSES A HOTEL AND SHOPPING CENTER IN THE LATEST VERSION OF PLANS FOR THE NORTHWEST CORNER OF STICKNEY POINT AND SOUTH TAMIAMI TRAIL, BENDERSON PROPOSES A HOTEL AND SHOPPING CENTER Im hopeful to meet our more immediate neighbors so that we can work on a landscape and buffer plan to integrate the shopping center to the neighborhood. Todd Mathes Director of Development By Roger Drouin County Editor


community of mostly single-family homes to the north and west of the proposed devel opment are worried it will bring cut-through traffic, loud delivery trucks and late-night noise to the area, which is known as a peace ful neighborhood not too far from the beach. They are also worried about trafc jams on Stickney Point Road. At rst, Linda Hunter, a 24-year resident of the Pine Shores neighborhood, was most con cerned about congestion at the intersection and expected cut-through trafc. But as she learns more about the plans, she has become more worried about possible noise from restaurants and bars in the devel opment. Hunter said she can already hear the music from Captain Curts Crab & Oyster Bar on Old Stickney Point Road on Siesta Key, and she is familiar with the problems residents have had to deal with, including sleepless nights, as a result of noise issues at Bobs Boathouse on South Tamiami Trail. She is worried that Siesta Promenade will bring those same issues right into her neigh borhood, she told The Sarasota News Leader They are going to put a lot of things on those 24 acres which are going to generate a lot of noise and trafc, said Hunter, a home health nurse who works long hours and is anxious about whether she will face new challenges in getting to sleep after she comes home from her job. Hunter also worries about a hotel, a big-box store and a market all being located close to homes witho ut a buffer, such as townhomes, Remnants of the Pine Shores Estates mobile home park remain on the property, which has been vacant since 2008. Photo by Roger Drouin That will create a shortcut through the neighborhood to get back north on [U.S.] 41. Sura Kochman Pine Shores Resident Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 14


between those single-family residences and the commercial development. A REZONE The project requires a rezone to Commercial General, which means the matter must be heard before the Sarasota Planning Commission and the County Commission. The developer has not led a formal appli cation yet, according to Sarasota County Planner Todd Dary with Sarasota County Planning Services. But Benderson did pres ent its preliminary plans during a Sarasota County Development R eview Committee meeting and held a required neighborhood workshop June 26. Mathes says he plans to meet with some resi dents to talk over the project. Im hopeful to meet our more immediate neighbors so that we can work on a landscape and buffer plan to integrate the shopping cen ter to the neighborhood. We also laid out the site to buffer the neighborhood from the areas on the property where there will be the most activity, Mathes wrote the News Leader in an email response to questions this week. Ill be walking the area with some of our neighbors over the coming weeks so we can The intersection of Stickney Point Road and South Tamiami Trail sees its share of trafc. Residents say congestion is at its worst from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., during the height of peoples trips to the beach. Photo by Roger Drouin Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 15


look at their properties and ours together, Mathes added. In its current proposed form, the project will likely spur plenty of comments when it comes before the Planning and County commissions. The neighborhood has been mobilizing. We are certainly hoping the Planning Commission will listen to our concerns, said Sura Kochman. In addition to the lack of a buffer, Bendersons latest rendition of development for the site it purchased in 2005 incorporates a trafc plan that will encourage drivers to cut through the Pine Shores neighborhood, Kochman pointed out to the News Leader It affects everybody, the way they have that trafc pattern, Kochman added. Stick ney Point Road already is backed up during daytime hours as people head to Siesta, especially in season. Kochman believes the design of the shopping center will encourage some customers to turn right from the planned exit at Glencoe Avenue and Stickney Point Road and then head onto Beechwood Avenue, meaning they will travel through the residential area before eventually heading back north on Tamiami Trail. That will create a shortcut through the neighborhood to get back north on [U.S.] 41, Kochman explained. Linda Hunter says an increase in trafc can further muddle the already-congested inter section, which Hunter calls the third worst in the county. Before the Florida Department of Transportation improved a No Turn on Red situation at the Stickney Point Road/Midnight Pass Road intersection this spring, complaints swelled about trafc tie-ups and vehicles backed onto U.S. 41. Residents fear that after the Benderson development opens, the extra trafc will exacerbate the Siesta situation once again. File photo Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 16


The Benderson property is located at the northwest corner of U.S. 41 and Stickney Point Road. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 17


It doesnt take a r ocket scientist to gure out when you have that number of parking spaces, you will have that much more trafc, Hunter said. Hunter points to another Benderson project that is at the center of an expensive x to ease trafc problems. We see what happened at University Town Center, Hunter noted, referring to the big mall the rm is building off University Parkway. Trafc considerations seem to be an afterthought. Hunter said she looks forward to being able to talk with Mathes about her concerns. Todd has been honest about being willing work with us, she added. All of us just have to see what eventually will come of it. NOT OFF THE TABLE In 2006 and 2007, Benderson pitched a mixeduse project for the 24 acres, Mathes said. That proposal has been scaled down with the residential component removed. Even though that project had ve-story build ings, residents say the earlier version had more trees and less p arking lot asphalt, and poten tially fewer trafc impacts because of the homes it included. There was more green space, said Lourdes Ramirez, president of the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations and a county commission candidate who has been working with residents concerned about the project. Kochman believes adding some residential space back into the plan townhomes, in particular and situating that between the existing residential community and the shop ping center would be a good transition. Hunter agrees that townhomes would be an improvement. I dont know of any place that has single-fam ily [homes] abutting a new project without any transition, Hunter said. Mathes told the News Leader that some residential use is not off the table as the developer nalizes its plans. But it will add trafc and were not sure that the type of residential that would be viable at the site would be embraced by our immediate neighbors, Mathes wrote. Its a conversation and opportunity wed like to keep expl oring. % I am so incredibly pleased, with my beautiful smile and my comfortable and natural bite. Barbara LeeFor a complimentary consultation call 941.923.5406 | Christine Koval, D.M.D. | Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 18


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Sarasota County is facing a potential bill more than three times higher than the late January estimate to renourish about 2 miles of south Siesta Key shoreline, including Turtle Beach, staff told the County Commission on June 30. Although Tourist Development Tax (TDT) funds earmarked for county projects total about $15 million, the south Siesta expense is now climbing towards $18 million, Steve Botelho, act ing assistant county administrator and the coun tys chief financial planning officer, said during the boards budget workshop. All of the [county beach renourishment] fund balance could potentially be used for that project. However, Laird Wreford, the countys man ager of coastal resources who had to leave the meeting before the discussion ensued told The Sarasota News Leader the fol lowing day that he is hopeful the county will receive lower bids when the solicitation package is advertised. Still, he said, We want Turtle Beach on south Siesta Key is popular with many people because it generally has less activity than the larger public beach. File photo A JUMP IN THE EXPENSE THE RENOURISHMENT OF SOUTH SIESTA KEYS BEACH COULD COST AS MUCH AS $18 MILLION, WELL ABOVE THE ORIGINAL ESTIMATE We want to make sure that we dont blindside our commission. Laird Wreford Manager Coastal Resources Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


to make sure that we dont blindside our commission. The south Siesta Key project discussion came as the commissioners wrestled with a means of providing faster renourishment for South Lido Key without having to rely on the dredg ing of Big Sarasota Pass. (See the related story in this issue.) Matt Osterhoudt, acting director of the coun tys Natural Resources Department, attributed the rising estimate for the Siesta plan to cir cumstances following Hurricane Sandys devastation of a wide stretch of the U.S. East Coast in the fall of 2012. Wreford explained to the News Leader that as communities wor ked to recover from Sandys ons laught, 2013 was an unbelievable boom year for rms able to do beach renour ishment. Only a handful of companies have the capability to undertake such projects, he pointed out. With a huge boost in demand, he continued, a number of rms bought new equipment and hired more workers, and, as in any such supply-and-demand scenario, costs rose dramatically. It appears to have been a relatively temporary situation, Wreford said, but it was very real. This year, not nearly as many renourishment projects are under way, he noted. Nonetheless, There is a big question mark regarding the south Siesta project, he said. We got a very, very rough preliminary esti mate for the muc h higher cost, he added. A chart shows how funds collected from the Tourist Development Tax are allocated for beach renourishment projects. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 21


Yet another fac tor being gu red into the south Siesta expense, he continued, is the neces sity of obtaining sand about 2 miles further offshore than was necessary for the original project in 2006-07. In terms of the state permitting process, Wreford told the News Leader Weve actu ally made very good progress. If things continue to go smoothly with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, he is hopeful the work can begin in January 2015. It has to be accomplished b efore or after t urtle-nesting season, which runs from May 1 through Oct. 31. WORKING OUT THE DETAILS Chief Financial Planning Officer Botelho and Osterhoudt, acting director of natural resources, explained to the county commis sioners on June 30 that staff is working on a detailed discussion of the South Siesta Key Renourishment Project for their Aug. 20 bud get workshop. Parts of Turtle Beach suffered erosion problems as a result of Tropical Storm Debbys churning off the coast in June 2012. Photo courtesy Ron Flynn Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 22


I guess I always thought that that was about a $5 million project, Commissioner Joe Barbetta said of the plans. Commissioner Nora Patterson, who lives on Siesta Key, also expressed astonishment at the news that the cost could potentially more than triple. I hesitate [to question it], because youre always right, Steve, she told Botelho. This is recent information that we have just obtained, just prior to the budget workshops, Osterhoudt replied. In early February, Wreford told the News Leader the estimated cost was about $11 mil lion, with approximately $5.5 million expected to come from the TDT renourishment fund. The rest would be covered by a state grant along with assessments from adjacent prop erty owners. In late Au gust 2013, Botelho noted in an email to the commissioners that the countys antici pated share of the cost was $5 million. Durin g the June 30 meeting, Patterson pointed out that assessments covered about 18 per cent of the expense of the original South Siesta Key Renourishment Project, which was completed in April 2007. Some of [the area] is not really publicly accessible, she explained, which is why the county can ask property owners to help pay for the work. The assessments were timed to end after eight years, she noted, before the next renourish ment began. Botelho said staff had gured on the state contributing about $7 million to the new project, with ass essments combining for Matt Osterhoudt (left) and Laird Wreford appear before the County Commission on June 30. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 23


approxima tely $3 million and the nal portion coming from the T DT fund. Which would have left about $10 million in the [TDT account for county renourishment efforts], Barbetta noted. The state money might be in limbo, Botelho said. The South Siesta Renourishment Project was shut out of the running for state fund ing this year, Patterson pointed out, because of a ranking system that gave more points to plans that involved the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Recently, she continued, she had heard that state ofcials rethinking of that process could lead to the south Siesta project getting some money, though my understand ing was that it was substantially less [than the $7 mill ion]. As the board members discussed both the upcoming south project and the suggestion that some of the county TDT funds be used to help the City of Sarasota add more sand to South Lido Beach, Patterson noted that the TDT renourishment account has been grow ing at a rate of about $1.4 million a year, thanks to the rise in tourists spending. Weve never had as much cash as we currently have [in that account]. Therefore, she said, the funds could be used to enable the county to bond out the expense of upcoming projects. In response to a request for clarication from Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson, staff and Patterson noted that separate renourish ment accounts are set up for all the county municipalities that have shorelines. Robinson said the City of Venice is in the nal stages of planning a project. % A graphic from the National Hurricane Center shows a selection of aboveground high-water marks estimated along Hurricane Sandys path in the fall of 2012. Image from the National Hurricane Center Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 24


...two days early! My Sunday Paper... One of my favorite things to do is spend all day Sunday relaxing with the Sunday newspaper, reading it from cover to cover. Unfortunately, my old Sunday paper is mostly classied ads, real estate ads, ad inserts and very little in the way of real, informative news. Thats why I love the award-winning Sarasota News Leader It is so full of news and features that relate to Sarasota County that I need a whole day to read it all ... perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. And reading it on my iPad means no trip to the recycling bin. The Sarasota News Leader access e-mail is delivered to my inbox every Friday morning. Of course, Im tempted to read some of it right away. Who could resist? But I know I have all day Sunday in fact, all week to read the No. 1 digital news weekly in Sarasota County. The Sarasota News Leader Your New Sunday Treat Old school journalism. 21st century delivery.


A series of community meetings dedicated to explaining the nal cluster of proposed changes to Sarasota Countys 2050 land-use policy concluded this week with loud criti cism from a number of residents and a series of tense exchanges with county staff. But will the feedback lead to any alterations in the 2050 rewrites? It remains an open question. Sarasota 2050 was approved a decade or so ago with t he goal of encouraging the con struction of walkable, mixed-use commu nities in parts of the county p reviously off-limits to dense development. But for years, the plan has been under re from devel opers who say the regulations stifle their ability to build, and in late 2012, the County Commission instructed staff to begin review ing the plan with an eye toward modifying it. Several changes to the plan have already been approved, but the county has, over the past few weeks, organized three public works hops to discuss the nal phase of 12 alterations, which includes some of those most hotly contes ted. Perhaps The area of the county east of Interstate 75, for which Sarasota 2050 was designed, has numerous cattle and horse pastures. File photo AN EARFUL ON 2050 PUBLIC WORKSHOP ATTENDEES PAN PROPOSED CHANGES TO SARASOTA 2050, BUT WILL IT MATTER? If we get this wrong and overbuild, you cant x it. Brian Keisacker Sarasota County Resident By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


the most controversial? Fiscal neutrality, of course. On Monday evening, June 30, during a fourhour marathon with around 50 attendees, county Long-Range Planning Manager Allen Parsons explained the concept of fiscal neutrality, the principle that a new neighbor hood generates enough government revenue through impact fees and taxes to cover any additional burden on county services. One of the countys proposals is to eliminate a 2050 requirement that a developer demonstrate s cal neutrality at each phase of construction. Attorney Dan Lobeck, a longtime critic of the move to overhaul 2050, argued that removing those future analyses would allow builders to submit scal neutrality reports that may not pan out, leaving taxpayers to foot the bills. This is pernicious to the extreme, he said. Parsons countered that while a developer will In late May, the County Commission saw a revised proposal for the development of villages under the 2050 plan. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 27


not be required to submit a new scal neutral ity analysis, one would be on the hook if his original projections were not borne out. Lobeck continued pressing the point, saying the impetus for the changes to scal neu trality was the radical Arduin report, the controversial analysis put together by the Reagan-afliated, hard-right economic rm Laffer Associates. The back-and-forth grew tense, with one man in the audience gesturing at Lobeck with his nger pointed down, shout ing, Sit down! Another attendee applauded when that man and another left before the meeting ende d. Others criticized the County Commission for slashing impact fees while at the same time reviewing scal neutrality. Attendees also objected to the portion of the 2050 rewrites that would allow so-called hamlets in eastern and southern parts of the county to be built closer together than pre viously allowed. This is one of the worst things thats come out of this, said Wade Matthews, conservation chairman for the Sarasota Audubon Society. It would do away with one of the better enviro nmental things, Undeveloped areas along eastern Fruitville Road create a pastoral setting. File photo Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 28


in my opinion, at least, of 2050. He said he was strongly opposed to the plan. Under the current plan youre guaranteed a minimum of 500 feet surrounding every development thats a natural wildlife corri dor, regardless of whats built next door, said attendee Brian Keisacker, criticizing the proposed greenbelt reduction. Thats a big enough wildlife corridor that they can comfortably move. One hundred feet is way too small. As the meeting crawled into hour four and the crowd dwindled to a dozen or so, the dis cussion widened to encompass everything from green energy to the housing bubble to low-paying jobs in the region. County Commission candidates Lourdes Ramirez and Alexandra Coe both spoke and asked ques tions, and Parsons and other county staffers pledged to carry the feedback generated back to the commission. County Commission Chairman Charles Hines sat in the audience for more than an hour, lis tening to the debate. Will the criticism voiced Monday and at previous public workshops have an impact on how the commission per ceives the issue? The board is tentatively scheduled to vote on the proposals on Aug. 27, after the Planning Commission takes a pass at them. Final approval could happen as soon as Oct. 22. Keisacker summed up his opposition to the changes by saying the county should err on the side of allowing too little new develop ment. The commission can always tweak the plan to allow more construction, he said, but if we get this wrong and overbuild, you cant x it. % Gene Burgess and Melonie Burgess, licensed acupuncture physicians Serving Sarasota since 2008 Treatment rates are on a sliding scale, from $15-$35; new patients pay a one-time additional fee of $10 AFFORDABLE ACUPUNCTURE FOR EVERYONE 3615 Webber St Sarasota, FL 34232 (941) 922-4611 Open Tuesday through Saturday Our Mission To provide our community with high quality and affordable acupuncture and herbal medicine and to create a treatment space that connects people and builds community. Click for larger map and driving directions Click To Schedule An Appointment Online MENTION THIS AD TO RECEIVE $5 OFF THE NEW PATIENT FEE Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 29


Every Thursday early evening, Bob McHale waits for his wife to return home from her mahjong night in Lakewood Ranch. And every Thursday, heading west on University Parkway, she gets stuck in trafc. If she wins, its a little better, said McHale, one of the residents who attended a work shop held by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) on Thursday, June 26. The meeting offered members of the public their rst look at FDOTs proposed $60-million diverging diamond interchange at University Parkway and Interstate 75. McHale is not sure whether the bold plan will work. But he believes something has to be done. Its getting worse very quickly, added McHale, who lives in the Quail Run neighborhood on Lockwood Ridge Road. The interchange of University Parkway and Interstate 75 is among those that garner signicant complaints from drivers because of the amount of trafc. Photo by Roger Drouin A DIAMOND PLAN RESIDENTS ARE UNSURE WHETHER A BOLD INTERCHANGE PLAN FOR INTERSTATE 75 AND UNIVERSITY PARKWAY WILL WORK, BUT THEY SAY SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE, WITH TRAFFIC INTENSIFICATION ANTICIPATED Lets remember the one at University is the rst one in the State of Florida. We are the guinea pig. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County By Roger Drouin County Editor


One promising sign for McHale, he says, is that one of his neighbors is from Atlanta, and she has told him about a diverging diamond built there in 2012. She said she loves it. State transportation ofcials working with local elected government leaders hope the diverging diamond at University Parkway will become the critical piece in a trafc improve ment puzzle for the fast-growing area. With the new Mall at University Town Center scheduled to open in October, Benderson Parks rowing facility preparing for the 2017 World Championships and an abundance of new homes planned, even more vehicles will be driving through the already congested intersection. During Thursdays meeting in a packed hotel conference room in Lakewood Ranch, some residents watched an FDOT video showing how the interchange would work (see the accompanying link) and looked at renderings of the design. Lewis Dean, who lives close to the interstate, was among those interested in the details. Dean studied one of the renderings showing the proposed diverging diamond interchange and traffic signals on University Parkway. Do they have a transportation management system to synchronize the lights, especially during peak hours? he asked during an interview with The Sarasota News Leader The News Leader was unable to answer that Residents say they encounter congestion on University Parkway from about 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays. When a vehicle crash occurs, as was the case on June 26, trafc is at a standstill. Photo by Roger Drouin Do they have a transportation management system to synchronize the lights, especially during peak hours? Lewis Dean Resident Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 31


question, thoug h Sara sota County over the past three years has been putting in place an Advanced Trafc Management System that facilitates trafc ow. For McHale, there is another benet to the changes besides keeping vehicles moving smoothly. The dynamic of the area will help the economy. A FIRST IN FLORIDA The diverging diamond interchange would be the rst such design in Florida. But it proba bly will not be the last. FDOT is considering it for at least two additional intersections at I-75 and Clark Road and at I-75 and Fruitville Road in Sarasota County. That has County Commissioner Joe Barbetta worried. Lets remember the one at University is the rst one in the State of Florida, Barbetta said during a County Commission budget work shop on June 27. We are the guinea pig. It was surprising to learn that FDOT is plan ning at least two more of the interchanges without rst waiting to see how it works at University, Barbetta added. MORE QUESTIONS The layout at University Parkway and I-75 will require the trafc on University Parkway to briey switch sides. That will mean the two trafc lights will become two-phase signals. The Florida Department of Transportation has provided a new video about the diverging diamond interchange planned for Interstate 75 and University Parkway. To view it, click here Video courtesy of FDOT Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 32


The design will remove the need for left turns across University, onto and off the interstate. In concept, that should reduce trafc delays and crashes. State ofcials say a diverging diamond will work best at the site because the design can handle more trafc than a standard clover leaf intersection. Even though this type of intersection is new the rst was built in Missouri in 2009 it has been working, and by the end of 2015, as many as 70 could be in use throughout the country, transportation ofcials say. Along with Missouri, Kentucky and Utah have diverging diamonds. Still, like other residents of Sarasota and Manatee counties, local mobility advocate Rod Warner, who attended the public work shop, has questions. Most of the other diverging diamonds built in the United States are in rural areas with less conict points than those at I-75/University Parkway, Warner noted. While FDOT engineers point to the new design as being capable of handling increased trafc ow in the future, Warner wants to see data showing that it can do that while reducing the number of crashes. What studies have taken place after the fact, showing that the diverg ing diamond has done what the designers say it will do and what the FDOT is promising it will do? Warner asked in an interview with the News Leader He has asked state transportation ofcials if they considered other options for the inter state, he added. The design consultant said they did, Warner told the News Leader They The June 26 workshop was the publics first opportunity to look at the Florida Department of Transportations plan for a $60-million diverging diamond interchange. Photo by Roger Drouin Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 33


said a plan for a ro undabout at Interstate 75 and University would call for [seven lanes]. Warner, a roundabout proponent, thinks that might be overkill. A seven-lane roundabout would be so bizarre, he pointed out. Nonetheless, it has become clear that FDOT ofcials are planning for huge growth into the future, Warner said. For example, FDOT engineers are also working on plans to expand I-75 to 12 lanes. While it is focused on construction of the interchange, FDOT is expecting Sarasota and Manatee counties to take the lead on roadway improvements needed to make it function smoothly. Sarasota County will be relying to some extent on help from Schroeder Manatee Ranch Inc., developer of L akewood Ranch, and Benderson, developer of the new Mall at University Town Center. Both rms are obligated to assist with infrastructure improvements under the terms of develop ment agreements with the county and impact fee guidelines. COUNTY COMMISSION CONCERNS At a Sarasota Tiger Bay Club meeting last month, state Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, pointed out that an alternative funding scheme could provide state money for the diverging diamond project even though an FDOT request for state assistance this year failed. Momentum does appear to be building. The project is in the design phase already; the state does not need to p urchase any extra right of Attendees at the July 26 meeting watch a video explaining how a diverging diamond functions. Photo by Roger Drouin Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 34


way for it (a p rocess that usually takes years); and FDOT, as noted earlier, is showcasing the diverging diamond statewide as a new inter change model. In 2013, the Sarasota County commissioners were initially hesitant about the project, voic ing concerns about the scale of it and how much FDOT estimated their nancial invest ment in it would be. Then this spring, they backed a scaled-down proposal, approving a resolution supporting the diverging diamond. Yet, during the June 27 County Commission budget workshop, Barbetta was not the only one to raise concerns. Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson said she learned about the two other diverging diamond proposals for the interstates interchanges with Clark Road and Fruitville Road from an article last week in the Herald-Tribune I really feel these FDOT projects are just popping up and taking us by surprise. We really need to have a conversation with FDOT about part nering with us, as opposed to us just being there, Robinson added. Not a word of any of that was raised at the [recent Sarasota/Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization ] meeting, Robinson pointed out. It is troublesome to me that we stumbled upon these things, and FDOT doesnt tell what they are doing. Robinson said she would like to hear about FDOTs big projects earlier rather than later. A lot of times lately, Ive heard, We have already planned it, she continued. There has got to be a better way. You are right on the money, Barbetta responded. Commissioner Nora Patterson noted that another issue is whether FDOT will expect the county to help pay for local improvements that will be needed at the other intersections. The one we are talking about at University, they are saying, requires $25 million of local money and [FDOT officials] are upset we havent budgeted it, in part, because we didnt know [about] it until fairly recently, Patterson said. What are the implications for these other intersections? If it is similar, it completely breaks the bank. Isaac Brownman, Sarasota Countys director of public works, replied, These interchanges have been in the FDOT work program for some time, but not as diverging diamond interchanges. That is the concern. When do those decisions get made and why arent we involved in it? % Dont have your own subscription to The Sarasota News Leader ? Subscribe for FREE and receive a latest issue is available online. FREE SUBSCRIPTION Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 35


A short-term City of Sarasota plan to renourish a section of Lido Beach that suffered signi cant damage from Tropical Storm Debby in 2012 may prove an interim solution to contro versy over the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposal for a $19 million, 50-year plan to stabilize Lido Key at potential expense to Siesta Key. The Sarasota County Commission was eager Monday to see if its staff an d city staff can ma ke the i nitiative work, especially given Lido Key residents increasingly plaintive pleas for help and Siesta residents increasing alarm at the Army Corps proposal. When you look at the emails and see how passion ate peopl e are, you see it has become Sie sta versus Lido, and its unfortunate, said County Commissioner Joe Barbetta during his boards June 30 workshop. It should not be like that. Were all in this together. Matt Osterhoudt (left) and Laird Wreford participate in the County Commission discussion on June 30. Photo by Norman Schimmel AN INTERIM SOLUTION A SHORT-TERM PLAN TO ADD MORE SAND TO LIDO BEACH IS WELL RECEIVED, BUT A MORE AMBITIOUS ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS PROPOSAL REMAINS CONTROVERSIAL The action taken allows everyone to step back and discuss whats best for the coastal area. Rob Patten Environmental Advocate Sarasota County By Roger Drouin County Editor


A page from the City of Sarasotas permit application for the Debby project shows the borrow area of New Pass. Image courtesy City of Sarasota Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 37


The short-term plan would shore up the southern third of Lidos beach while allow ing local ofcials to delve more deeply into the details of the Army Corps proposal. This interim solution, characterized as the Debby project, is roughly one-tenth of the scope of the Army Corps plan for dredging 1.3 million cubic yards of sand from Big Sarasota Pass and constructing three groins to stabilize 1.6 miles of the Lido beach. The county commissioners said they would support using additional Tourist Development Tax (TDT) revenue set aside for renour ishment projects to help the city cover the extra cost, if it turns out the Debby project proves feasible. In 2012, a segment of Lido beach sustained sig nicant damage when Tropical Storm Debby sat offshore for days. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has already given the city a permit to dredge 120,000 cubic yards of sand from New Pass to shore up the most affected portion of the beach. City Engineer Alex DavisShaw estimates a total of 200,000 cubic yards of sand could be placed on the shore without the citys having to seek a new permit. The County Commission voted unanimously to work with the city on the plan. The city has commissioned a new survey this month to determine how much more the affected area of beach has eroded since Debbys wind Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson (left) and Commissioner Nora Patterson study graphics during the presentation. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 38


Lido Key Residents Association President Carl Shoffstall offers his comments on June 30. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 39


and wave action ate away sand in 2012. The FEMA project could start as early as this fall. BREATHING ROOM Residents worried about the Army Corps pro posal to dredge Big Pass and build groins on South Lido Key say piggybacking on the FEMA project makes sense. It gives the community some breathing room, said Rob Patten, an environmental advocate and former Sarasota County ecologist. We get a chance to do the due diligence we want to do, Patten added, referring to the Army Corps modeling for the citys bigger Lido Renourishment Project. The action taken yesterday allows every one to step back and discuss whats best for t he coastal area, Patten told The Sarasota News Leader on July 1. The coastal system includes the entire west coast of Florida and different cells within that geographic area. You cant take one pass or island and make a plan without impacting others. WANTS AND NEEDS In discussing the nancing of the Debby proj ect on Monday, Commissioner Nora Patterson pointed out, [The city commissioners] dont have sufcient monies for that. However the county does. I think the need is obvious, Patterson added. Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson said expanding the storm repair project makes sense because clearly, they have an immedi ate need on Lido Key. (From left) County Coastal Resources Manager Laird Wreford, Siesta Key Association Vice President Catherine Luckner and Acting Natural Resources Director Matt Osterhoudt prepare for the start of the discussion on June 30. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 40


Rob Patten offers his thoughts on the Lido renourishment plans. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 41


Lido Key Re sidents Association President Carl Shoffstall told the commissioners on Monday that high tide in the Gulf of Mexico already reaches the base of one condominium tower on Lido Key. Something has to be done to pro tect homeowners on the island, he added. He was among those who voiced support for expanding the Debby renourishment, but he said that project is only a drop in the bucket when it comes to a solution for Lidos ero sion problems. Pattersons suggestion about using TDT money to help the city was well received as well. I think its great, said Siesta resident and boating advocate Peter van Roekens. This is something that will make a difference now. He concurred with Patten that being able to pursue the short-term project would allow time for further study of the Army Corps report, along with extensive public input and a county peer review of the Army Corps modeling. One potential proverbial monkey wrench in the works, however, is an elevated cost esti mate for the upcoming renourishment of South Siesta Key. (See the related story in this issue.) PUBLIC COMMENTS AND MORE REVIEW The feasibility of the Army Corps proposed $19 million project will come down to more input and more review over the next few months. On July 23, residents will be able to offer comments on it when the City of Sarasota hosts two public sessions. They will be considered the beginning of the Army Corps scoping process. Add itionally, over the next few weeks, at the direction of the county commissioners on Monday, county staff will focus on how the proposal affects county property, with the Army Corps planning to put one groin on the site of the countys Ted Sperling Park on South Lido. The other two are planned to be constructed north of that one. The commis sioners also asked Laird Wreford, the countys director of coastal resources, to be prepared to advise them next month on whether they should hire an independent consultant to review the Army Corps report, particularly in regard to those points. Patterson said Monday that she would like to see the county hire a consultant who has no ties to Army Corps projects, a completely independent rm that would win the approval of both Lido and Siesta residents. One of the qualications [is] that they dont make a sub part of their rms living doing work for the Army Corps, which will immedi ately create some questions, whether they are justied or not, Patterson pointed out. Patterson added that she also would like to see the consultant take a close look at poten tial impacts to Siesta Key, navigation in Big Pass and the long-term future of Lido Beach. There are a lot of rms that do this kind of work, Commissioner Barbetta noted. What I want to avoid is the public being skeptical if we choose a local rm or a rm we have worked with before. Patterson requested details, too, about whether the county would have to approve an easement for the city to allow the groin to be built in Sperling Park. It may be that the consultant may have some suggestions, in addition to our county attorney, Patterson said. Maybe that needs a little more eshing out. % Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 42


On Tuesday, July 8, in Venice, the Sarasota County Commission will discuss a response to a letter the North Port City Commission sent it last week requesting the advertisement of another short-term operation bid for Warm Mineral Springs. That could include a proposal to sell the property to the City of North Port, com missioners indicated last week. The item will be the last one on the agenda that day, the commissioners agreed this week, and public comments will be accepted right before the discussion begins instead of during the Open to the Public part of the afternoon session, which will start at 1:30 p.m. County Administrator Tom Harmer esti mated that if all the other business on the agenda flows Visitors to Warm Mineral Springs rave about the healing effects of the water. Photo by Stan Zimmerman NEEDED: A RESOLUTION THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS WILL DISCUSS THE FUTURE AND POSSIBLE SALE TO NORTH PORT OF WARM MINERAL SPRINGS DURING THEIR JULY 8 AFTERNOON SESSION This cant be in perpetual shortterm operation mode, which is what [North Port Mayor James Bluchers June 26] letter says. Christine Robinson Vice Chairwoman Sarasota County Commission By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


smoothly, the board could begin the Warm Mineral Springs discussion around 4 p.m. A day after the two boards failed to agree on a rm to handle the long-term operation of the 81-acre resort, the North Port Commission sought to renew the short-term management process because the contract for National and State Parks Concessions to keep the Springs open just for swimming will end on Aug. 31. Carolyn Brown, the countys director of parks and recreation, notied Harmer on June 25 that during a special North Port Commission meeting, Commissioner Linda Yates made a motion to direct staff, pending agreement from the county board, to amend the short-term management solicitation process through which National and State Parks Concessions was hired to provide for a one-year contract and the n re-advertise it. All the other North Port commissioners approved the motion except Mayor James Blucher. In the letter Blucher sent the County Commission on June 26, he wrote that if the county board agreed to the city commis sions request, city staff would issue the new bid solicitation. The County Commission discussed the request near the end of its budget workshop on June 27. Robert Zabler, a resident who has addressed the board many times on the issue of Warm Mineral Springs, used the Open to the Public session at the end of the workshop to ask the commissioners to sell the property to the City of North Port. The U.S. Geological Survey is undertaking a study of changes in the Springs over time. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 44


The North Port City Commission sent this letter to the County Commission last week. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 45


The boards joi ntly purchased the property in December 2010 for $5.5 million. We bought the property really, as much as anything, as a favor to North Port and also to make sure, ironically [that] the Springs not be overdeveloped, County Commissioner Nora Patterson pointed out. Making it into a park is not what we bargained for. I would be happy to sell the property at this point to [the North Port city commissioners]. Im not willing to buy it. If they want 100 percent of it [to carry out their vision], their municipality needs to pay for it. Patterson added that the matter needs to be resolved. And I dont think we should be bit ter about it, maybe disappoin ted. If North Port wants to buy us out ne, Chairman Charles Hines concurred. Let it be a city park. Im open to that, but I disagree about putting it back out to bid. Hines added that the County Commission has spent a disproportionate amount of time on the future of Warm Mineral Springs over the past 21 months. Weve got a two-and-three-quarter-milliondollar investment on behalf of 385,000 people, and we have an obligation, a duciary respon sibility to make that investment work, and its not working, Commissioner Joe Barbetta pointed out. The solicitation package advertised earlier this year for a long-term operation of Warm Mineral Springs contained this map showing existing land uses on the site. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 46


He could not p ossibly support another shortterm agreement, he added. If the Springs close, so be it. Its not our fault. Its the fault of the North Port commissioners. Hines reminded his colleagues that Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson proposed last year that the county purchase the prop erty from North Port. The motion carried the stipulation that the city de-annex the site. During the County Commissions Jan. 29, 2013, meeting, Robinson won support from her colleagues on a motion to buy the Springs from North Port for $2 million. However, then-North Port Mayor Linda Yates told The Sarasota News Leader at the time that the offer represented a major, signicant nan cial burden on South County residents. She declined to go into more detail. Yet, two weeks earlier, the city board had asked whether the county would buy out the citys interest. On Feb. 11, 2013, the North Port Commission voted unanimously to reject the offer put together by Robinson, with then-Vice Mayor Blucher calling it Terrible. However, the city did not make a counter offer. In April 2013, th e boards ended up discussing the future of the Springs during a facilitated conict resolution meeting held under the guidelines of a state statute. That led to renewed negotiation over the shortterm contract and ultimately the presentation last week by two rms that bid on the longterm operation, Jebco Ventures in association with Angelshot LLC, both of Sarasota, and National and State Parks Concessions, which is based in Hobe Sound. On June 27, Hines told his colleagues, I do not want to see the Springs closed. I think thats horrible. When Barbetta pointed out that the pub lic comments likely will take up a lot of the County Commissions time on July 8, Hines replied, Well do the best to manage it. Thats part of our job, Patterson pointed out. I think the public deserves the opportunity to let us know how they feel about it before we take [a] vote, Robinson said, adding, This cant be in perpetual short-term opera tion mode, which is what [Bluchers June 26] letter says. Associate Editor Cooper Levey-Baker con tributed to this story. % Search for text in stories by clicking the icon in the menubar and entering a search term. Search the current edition or all editions. QUICK TIP Search Only The Issue You Are Viewing Search All Issues Your search term here Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 47


The value of property this year for tax pur poses is 5.35 percent greater for the City of Sarasota, comparing certied tax rolls from 2014 and 2013. The roll is submitted every July 1 by Sarasota County Property Appraiser Bill Furst to the Florida Department of Revenue for review. The consolidated appraisals com prise the roll and represent a snapshot of values on Jan. 1. LESS GOOD NEWS FOR DOWNTOWN Downtown property values lagged behind the overall city increase. The area comprising the Downtown Improvement District (DID) saw assess ments increase by a mere 0.62 percent, a statistical blip. Last week, the DIDs board of directors was told it had no more money to pursue downtown projects because its budget is tied up in bond payments and maintenance of existing projects. The tax roll also increases when new build ings are added. With more hotels and retail space in the State Street parking garage under construction in the DIDs area, the roll will rise. But because the roll is frozen as of Jan. 1, none of the new construction under way downtown will show up on next years DID tax roll. Some special taxing districts in downtown Sarasota saw larger increases in property values than others. Photo by Norman Schimmel A GROWING CITY TAX BASE THE OVERALL PROPERTY VALUE OF THE CITY OF SARASOTA AND ITS SPECIAL DISTRICTS IS UP MORE THAN 5 PERCENT By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


The news was not quite as drastic for the downtown Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), another taxing agency with much bigger boundaries than the DID. The downtown CRA saw a 4.29 percent jump in value. And the Newtown CRA, for the rst time since its inception, saw a rise in value, 4.0 percent. The funds for the two CRAs are fungible, with money often moved from the downtown agency to pay for projects in the Newtown agency. However, the money raised by the CRAs must be spent in the area encompassed by the agencies. It is not available for other areas or for citywide uses. WATE RFRONT DOES WELL The two self-taxing districts near the water front did well. The St. Armands Business Improvement District (BID) showed the biggest gain in taxable value. It jumped 6.5 percent. The Golden Gate area which taxes itself for civic improvements and beautica tion saw a 5.31 percent increase in value. The increases will allow both venues to keep pace with ination, with money left over to fund future activities and improvements. The roll is used by taxing bodies in the city and county to help set the budgets. Tax rates are lev ied against the roll to generate revenue. A chart shows the changes in the certied City of Sarasota tax rolls from July 1, 2013, to July 1, 2014. Image courtesy John Lege, City of Sarasota nance director Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 49


Taxes can increase because assessments are up, or governing bodies can raise the rates, or both actions can happen. If the Sarasota city commissioners vote this summer to hold the tax rate steady, owners could still expect to receive bills 5.35 percent higher than those they received last year (on average). Each property assessment is unique. APPLES TO WATERMELONS The ofce of Property Appraiser Furst released another table that has some academic use for local government nance departments, but it is not helpful in comparing year-to-year trends. It also shows the July 1, 2014, certied tax roll, but it compares that with the value of all property at the end of the prior tax year. Every year, some property owners believe their tax assessments are too high, and they appeal to the Value Adjustment Board for relief. Even a small amount of relief, in the aggregate, can produce big swings in the per centage increases. For example, the DID appraisal for last years roll rel eased by July 1, 2013 was Property in the Golden Gate Point district on the Sarasota bayfront realized a 5.31 percent increase in value year-over-year. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 50


$179,737,494. But after ap peals, the overall number was down to $177,693,164 by the end of the tax year. While the difference is only about $2 million, it makes for a big jump in the DIDs overall increase when one is com paring this years July 1 tax roll to the end of last years adjusted roll to 1.78 percent from 0.62 percent. The smaller gure (0.62 percent) comes from measuring the apples-to-apples tax roll cer tications of July 1 in 2013 and 2014. Because the State of Florida requires local governments to calibrate their full market value property tax assessments, create bud gets and establish tax rates, budget reality runs at least a year behind market reality. For another example, the July 1 tax roll reflects the reality of a Jan. 1 real estate ma rket. The new budgets go into effect on Oct. 1, but taxes generally will not be paid until November. And then the cycle will start all over again. Both the City and County of Sarasota held their millage rates steady during the economic downturn, providing six years of straight tax reductions for property owners. Both govern ments have nearly exhausted their rainy day, or economic uncertainty, reserves to maintain services in the face of plunging property val ues (and hence plunging tax revenue). This has political consequences because, on average, property in Sarasota County changes hands about once every six years. Thus, there is a new generation of owners who have never experienced anything but reductions in their propert y taxes. % THE SARASOTA News Leader Old school journalism. 21st century delivery. The award-winning Sarasota News Leader Sarasota Countys #1 digital news weekly! Read it online today at The most comprehensive, unbiased coverage of local news and government in the Sarasota County area. Read it on your iPad, iPhone, Kindle, Nook, Android, Laptop, Computer or other Smartphones Available for FREE every Friday Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 51


An extra $1,725,000 for road resurfacing and $1.8 million for the remodeling of the Terrace Building in downtown Sarasota and the R.L. Anderson Administration Center in Venice won unanimous nods this week from the Sarasota County Commis sion. However, a decision about proceeding with renovations of the South County court room facilities in the Anderson Center will remain on hold at least u ntil the board has its next budget work shop, which is set for Aug. 20. That decision was pegged to uncertainty about how much money the board might need to make the media center in the planned Sarasota County Technical Institute (SCTI) in North Port a shared space with the public Sarasota County School District staff is not at the point where it can provide an estimate, county staff told the commission ers during their June 30 budget workshop. A schematic shows the plan for renovating space in the countys R.L. Anderson Administration Center in Venice to enable the Tax Collectors Ofce to handle more drivers license renewals. Image courtesy Sarasota County THE COUNTY COMMISSION ALLOCATES MORE MONEY TO PAVING FOR THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR AND AGREES TO PAY FOR RENOVATIONS NEEDED BY THE TAX COLLECTORS OFFICE I want the [courtroom renovations] to happen in the worst way, but I also want to make a decision based upon numbers and the nancial feasibility. Christine Robinson Vice Chairwoman Sarasota County Commission By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor ROADS AND DRIVERS LICENSES


A $1.65 million requ est for improvements at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds, including lobby renovations of the arena and replace ment of the fixed seating, was shot down altogether. Were putting Band-Aids and duct tape on a building thats way beyond its useful life. Way beyond, Commissioner Joe Barbetta said. Board members also voiced frustration over the fact that the county will have to pick up the approximately $5 million tab for a new 9,100-square-foot Mid-County Tax Collectors Ofce with a driving test range because the Florida Legislature mandated that county tax collector ofces assume all drivers license issuance services by June 30, 2015, as a county graphic put it. The renovations the commissioners approved on June 3 0 for the Terrace and Anderson buildings also are nec essary because of the state action. Isaac Brownman, the countys public works director, explained that all the contractual items related to the purchase of the 6.5-acre site and construction of the new mid-county facilities will come before the board at its July 8 meeting in Venice. THE ROADS On the first of several votes on June 30, the commissioners unanimously agreed to a motion by Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson to add $1,725,000 to the $8,275,000 already allotted for road resurfacing in the 2015 scal year. Chief County Engineer James K. Harriott Jr. told the board on June 27 as he had last year during budget workshops A chart shows projected spending for county road resurfacing for scal years 2015 through 2019. The County Commission voted to allocate an extra $1,725,000 to the work for the next scal year. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 53


that the county would have to allocate $10 million a year to paving if it wanted to keep no more than 40 percent of its roads at or below a rating at which surface problems prompt public complaints. Youre putting in about eight-and-a-half million [dollars] per year, Harriott said in response to a question from Robinson. Factors have not changed substantially from last year, he added, when he offered the $10 million estimate. Were holding steady. Robinson said she already is noticing numer ous potholes in South County and expects the situation to worsen as the rainy sea son continues. After she ran some calculations of her own with numbers staff provided to the board, Robins on told The Sarasota News Leader the county is projected to see a deficit of $10,425,000 in its road resurfacing needs from FY 2016 through FY 2019 because it has not budgeted $10 million per year to maintain the 40-percent mark Harriott referenced. The planned amount for repaving in the 2016 scal year, for example, is $8,025,000; by the 2019 scal year, it is down to $5.5 million. After Commissioner Nora Patterson seconded Robinsons motion to allocate more money to the FY 2015 resurfacing program, Chairman Charles Hines asked Harriott whether the extra funds would enable him to move up signicant projects. Harriott replied that it would, including projects involving Jacaranda Boulevard, the Center Road area and Laurel Road, all in So uth County. County Administrator Tom Harmer (third from left) responds to a County Commission question during the June 30 workshop. Photo by Norman Schimmel The sense of urgency here was to get this [loan effort] going while interest rates were low and construction costs havent started skyrocketing. Joe Barbetta Commissioner Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 54


MORE DECISIONS Based on projected cash ow over the next ve years in the countys Surtax 3 program, which is funded by sales tax revenue, the com mission will have about $7.5 million in cash that is not tied to any projects, Brownman explained. If the board chose to pursue a bank loan to cover numerous projects, it would have a borrowing capacity of $9.5 million for that period of time. Commissioner Joe Barbetta pointed out that the board on May 16 directed staff to move forward on about $9.8 million in infrastruc ture plans, including space needs for both the Tax Collectors Ofce and South County court services. Why was that effort not proceeding, he asked. Ultimately, timings whats going to be dif cult, Steve Botelho, acting assistant county administrator and chief nancial planning ofcer, pointed out, as a result of immediate funding needs. The ultimate goal is still to work toward a bank loan as discussed at that May meeting, Botelho added. When Robinson asked how pursuing the loan would affect the countys ability to borrow in the future, Brownman told her the bank note period probably would be 20 years, and the county could expect to pay $250,000 per year in debt service. Im really trying to wrap my head around what exactly its going to affect, Robinson replied. The domino effect is never easy to describe. A chart shows details of plans for the new Mid-County Tax Collectors Ofce. The County Commission is expected to vote July 8 on contracts involving the facility. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 55


Steve Botelho is acting assistant county administrator and chief nancial planning ofcer for Sarasota County. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 56


First of all, w e dont have a lot of choice here, Barbetta pointed out. Weve been man dated by the state, so we have to do something [about the tax collectors situation]. Second, he said, Ford-Coates already had told the board she would be absorbing all the oper ating costs of the expanded and new facilities through her budget. He continued, So the sense of urgency here was to get this [loan effort] going while inter est rates were low and construction costs havent started skyrocketing. I understand that, Robinson told him, but I want to see what the bottom line is so I can explain to constituents, We cant do this project because we had to do this [instead]. Robinson stressed that she was not implying she would vote against the bank loan when ever staff brought that to the board. Chairman Charles Hines told County Administrator Tom Harmer, A little further information would be helpful in regard to the impact on future projects if the commis sioners borrow the $9.8 million. Referring to the legislative mandate regarding the drivers license work, he added, It is affecting our general government After further di scussion about project uncer tainties including the timeline for nding out how much money the county would need to commit to the plans Patterson made a motion to approve the funding just for the ren ovations of the Terrace Building and the R.L. Anderson Center. An amendment by Barbetta to add in the extr a $3.8 million for the South County courtroom space failed 2-3, with only Hines supporting it. While reasserting her commitment to meet ing the South County courtroom demands, Robinson told her colleagues, I would like to try to get those numbers for the North Port library [rst]. We wont have this opportu nity again [for such a shared facility]. I said that I would be fully behind planning for it, Patterson added. In response to a question from Hines, Harmer said he hopes to nalize the 2015 scal year budget decisions during the boards Aug. 20 workshop. However, Robinson pointed out that the School Board and the County Commission have a joint meeting set for Sept. 30. By then, she said, more nancial information might be available about the library. Although the commission will vote to approve the FY 2015 budget at a public hearing prior to that meet ing, she asked Harmer for clarication that the board would be able to approve a budget amendment later if necessary. You have that exibility, Harmer responded. I want the [courtroom renovations] to hap pen in the worst way, Robinson said, but I also want to make a decision based upon numbers and the nancial feasibility. I believe we can make the decisions in a few months, having a good nancial picture Referring to Harmers wiping out a projected decit in the countys FY 2016 budget, Hines told him after the vote, Do your magic again with money if you can. % Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 57


The Sarasota County Com mission may have halted any progress toward a countywide ordinance to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination, but the activist who rst pro posed the measure isnt about to give up, threatening to take her case to the voters if the commission declines to act. Englewood realtor Julia Nowak has repeat edly pushed the commission to approve whats known as a human rights ordinance, which would ban discrimination in housing and employment based on sexual orientation. Both the Cities of Sarasota and Venice have such rules on the books, but the county has yet to embrace the concept. While County Attorney Stev e DeMarsh was asked to research the matter, the commission decided to do nothing when presented with his infor mation in April. That hasnt prevented Nowak from continuing to agitate for the cause. Appearing before the commission two weeks ago, she announced she had collected more than 500 signatures in a petition drive and warned the board that if it wont act, shell pursue the possibility of putting the issue on a future county ballot. The people will vote for it, she said, warn ing those opposed to the idea: It is not going to make everybody lo ok good. Photo by Benson Kua, via Fotopedia IM NOT GIVING UP ON THIS LGBT ACTIVIST WARNS SARASOTA COUNTY SHELL TAKE HER ANTIDISCRIMINATION CAUSE TO THE VOTERS By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


I dont know if thats going to mean anything to them, Nowak tells The Sarasota News Leader but since her presentation she has booked one-on-one meetings with County Commission Vice Chairwoman Christine Robinson and Chairman Charles Hines, two commissioners who have not yet voiced sup port for an ordinance. Commissioner Carolyn Mason has so far been the only vocal propo nent on the board. Nowak wont be able to get the issue on the countys ballot this year, but shes planning a campaign to present it to voters as soon as possible after that. Sarasota Pride Fest is scheduled for Oct. 18, and Nowak will attempt a major signature push around that event if the commission remains disinterested. Shes also launched an online petition to comple ment the paper version. % A petition drive has been launched online to urge the Sarasota County Commission to approve a human rights ordinance. Image from the website Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 59


Two weeks ago, The Sarasota News Leader delved into the race to replace now-retired Sarasota County School Board member Carol Todd, but there was one late-breaking entrant we didnt have time to speak with before pub lication: Velton Hodges. Were correcting that this week. What made Hodges decide to throw his name into the ring? School safety. Hodges, who taught in Sarasota middle and elementary schools for more than three decades, says the School Board needs to ensure theres a licensed, uniformed, armed, trained law enforcement officer on every elementary school campus. While the schools have a heavy security camera presence, they lack the manpower to monitor the equipment, Hodges points out, arguing that on-campus cops are the most effective deterrent around. Hodges, who served a 12-year stint as pres ident of the Sarasota Classified Teachers Association (SC/TA) union, isnt accepting any donations toward his campaign, relying instead on public events and forums to spread his message. SC/TA Tiger, the teachers union political action committee, donated $1,000 to Hodges opponent, Ken Marsh, a longtime school system employee himself. Three seats are open on the Sarasota County School Board, including that of long-time member Carol Todd (second from right), who resigned this spring. File photo SCHOOL BOARD RACE ROUNDUP ONE CANDIDATE CITES SCHOOL SAFETY AS TOP ISSUE; ANOTHER FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST KATHY DENT By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor


Gov. Rick Scotts appointment of Bridget Ziegler to ll Carol Todds School Board seat until the election remains controversial. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 61


While other board hopefuls such as Marsh and Paul Schafer have criticized Gov. Rick Scott for appointing candidate Bridget Ziegler to temporarily replace Todd, Hodges says he wasnt surprised. Anybody who didnt see that coming just wasnt paying atten tion, he adds. Zieglers husband, Christian Ziegler, is the former executive director of the Republican Party of Sarasota County. While Ziegler doesnt have the experience for the job, Hodges says, ultimately, Thats going to be up to the voters. COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS Why didnt School Board candidate Geoffrey Fisher, red up in opposition to the education standards popularly known as Common Core, qualify for the election? A one-minute differ ence in clocks, he says. And he adds that hes led a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission (FEC) making just that point. According to a letter that Fisher says was later notarized and addressed to the exec utive director of the FEC, Fisher arrived at the ofce of Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent right at noon on June 20, the exact deadline to pay the fee needed to qualify for the el ection. But while a baby grandfather clock that was behind the counter read noon exactly, a staffer indi cated the clock on the computer read 12:01 p.m. i.e., too late to qualify. Despite pro testing, Fisher was denied the opportunity to enter the race. Fisher blamed his lateness on a busted eleva tor. His letter also claims that the denition of noon is difcult to nail down anyway, cit ing the fact that solar noon occurred at 1:32 p.m. on the day in question. Citing commission policy, the FEC could nei ther conrm nor deny it had even received Fishers complaint, nor could it comment on the issue. Dent did not respond to a message asking whether Fishers version of events is accurate. But whatever happens with the complaint, for now, Fishers out. He had jumped into the race because of his strong opposition to Common Core, which has been tweaked and replaced in Florida with what is known as the Florida Standards. He told the News Leader the stan dards focus too much on abstract concepts for younger students and are simply too easy for older students. % Someone you know needs Planned Parenthood Lifesaving cancer screenings Parent & teen education Annual GYN exams Birth controlPlanned Parenthood Of Southwest And Central FloridaSarasota Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 62


You might say T odd Kerkering spent his entire life preparing for his new job. He is the rst-ever emergency manager for the City of Sarasota. He is a local, too, Class of 4 Sarasota High School gra duate and a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. His military specialty was in force recon, being the first into a hot situation, be it a defended beach, a contested drop zone or a stealthy insert from under the sea. Force recon requir es Marines to go in e arly, assess a situation and begin to organize the initial wave of the com ing assault. Today he sits alon e in a conference room half the size of a cou rtroom in one of the upper stories of the Sarasota Police Department building in downtown Sarasota, again ready to organize the ini tial wave. Kerkering made the transition from the Sarasota County Emergency Management Office, where he served as Todd Kerkering is creating the new post of City of Sarasota emergency management chief after a career in the U.S. Marines and seven years in the Emergency Management Ofce of Sarasota County. Photo by Stan Zimmerman FIRST INTERVIEW WITH A NEW CHIEF TODD KERKERING IS THE FIRST EMERGENCY MANAGER FOR THE CITY OF SARASOTA For me, typically its bringing together city departments. Thats where I come in, to provide the training for all the individuals for the command system, teaching them the paperwork for the reimbursements. Todd Kerkering Emergency Management Chief City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


chief planner fo r the past seven years. He started his new job on May 27. While he is listed on the Police Departments organizational chart, he actually will coordi nate with all city departments to prepare for and then react to natural and man-made trou ble. One primary mission will be to save the city millions of dollars. HURRICANES REMAIN A PRINCIPAL FOCUS Kerkering spoke with The Sarasota News Leader on June 30, his rst interview in his new ofce and after the start of his new position. At the same time, the seasons rst tropical storm was getting organized, too, pumping up strength just offshore of southeast Florida. As of our deadline, Tropi cal Storm Arthur is expected to be a Category One hurricane that will strike the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Arthurs impact on Sarasotas weather has been minimal; only an expert eye on the radar would have noticed one of Arthurs earliest and outermost rain bands sweep Sarasota north-to-south on Tuesday afternoon, July 1. Reacting to hostile weather is only part of Kerkerings job, although the one with the highest visibility. The greatest threat to the city? A land-falling hurricane like Ike, with a 20-foot storm surge, he said. In 2008, Ike made a beeline for Galveston, TX, smashing head-on into the barrier islands of the Bolivar Peninsula, moving like a Brillo pad over a dirty plate. Hurricane Charley, by contrast, paralleled Floridas west coast before taking a last-minute So big there is an echo, Kerkerings ofce will ll rapidly and operate 24 hours per day in the event of a local natural or man-made emergency. Photo by Stan Zimmerman Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 64


hard right turn int o Charlotte Harbor. It car ried only a 4-foot storm surge, but it still caused millions of dollars in damage. Some low-lying parts of Charlotte County still have not recovered. The City of Sarasota rests largely on high ground, especially the northern half. The Phillippi Creek drainage basin, bayside devel opments and, obviously, the barrier islands of Lido and Siesta Key are in evacuation zones. The city is home to several public schools that are hardened and equipped to be public shelters. This contrasts with much of the southern half of Sarasota County, which is either low-lying by nature or the product of dredge-and-ll development in the 1950s and 1960s. Those areas must be evacuated in advance of even a modest hurricane. While preparation for storms is only a small fraction of Kerkerings duties, he has a couple of recommendations for people living in evac uation zones of the city. Bring something to sleep on. Our shelters are short-term, last-re sort shelters and there wont be any cots like you see on TV. If you have a ashlight or radio or other appliance, make sure they all use the same size of battery. And dont for get your medications, he said. And bring some old-school entertainment a book, a deck of cards. Sarasota News Leader City Editor Stan Zimmerman interviews Todd Kerkering, the citys new emergency management chief. Photo courtesy of the Sarasota Police Department Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 65


Another importa nt item to prepare is a packet of records. He suggests scanning copies of all important documents, especially insurance information, and storing the material away from your house. He recommends sending it to a friend or relative as an email attachment or putting it on a ash drive in a safe deposit box at a bank. If you are going to bring [the documents] with you, put all of them in a plas tic bag and seal it tight and store it in your car, including your passport and other important papers, he added. He highly recommends making a video of your possessions or taking pictures to doc ument any claims you might make. Send a copy away from the area to friends or family, he said. REIMBURSEMENT A KEY FUNCTION Do parades count as an emergency? The Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix boat races? I know the Police Department and the [Sarasota County] Fire Department. Theyve already started working on their plans for the Fourth of July, he replied. You can look at different weather events, whether its a hail storm thats unexpected or damaging events lets say a tornado, he added. Weve even had severe cold weather here, so do we open shelters for the homeless? Arthur, the rst tropical storm of the season, is projected to reach hurricane strength. The National Hurricane Center released the above predicted storm track as of 11 a.m. July 2. Image from the National Hurricane Center Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 66


He continued, For me, typically its bring ing together city departments. Thats where I come in, to provide the training for all the individuals for the command system, teaching them the paperwork for the reimbursements. Its much better when you do an audit that all the paperwork is similar so down the line when the auditors come in, they are looking at the same types of documentation. Kerkering used the example of a city patrol man assigned to direct trafc at an intersection with no power for the trafc signals. If the officer simply does the job and does not take any notes, the likelihood is slim of any reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the city for his time or the use of the car. You record your mileage to get there, and while your car sits for maybe six hours with the lights on while you direct the trafc, you note the time. Now we can seek reimburse ment for the time you and the vehicle were there, Kerkering pointed out. If our public works guys use a chain saw to cut some limbs that block a road, you need to record the time you use that particular chain saw because thats a reimbursable item, he said. It adds up. Typical ly FEMA reimburses you for about 75 percent, and the state, 12.5 per cent. The local jurisdiction is responsible for the other 12.5 percent. Everything we can document will help the individual taxpayers of the city, he noted. If we can seek reim bursement for it, th ats where we need to go. Florida is a donor state to the rest of the country, so my thought is, if we can seek reim bursement on it, I want those dollars. (By donor state, he means Florida provides more money in various forms of payments to the federal government than it annually receives in return.) With at least 200 or more city workers respond ing to help in any post-emergency situation, if simple accounting is ignored, the cost to the city for non-reimbursable expenses could run into the millions of dollars. Thus, Kerkerings job is not only to deal with the impact of a disaster, but also to manage the response in a way that minimizes the ultimate cost to the city. Meanwhile, he is putting together the citys Emergency Management Center with confi dence it will survive the worst nature can hurl at it. The new Sarasota Police Station despite the appearance of its glass facade is designed to withstand a Category 5 storm. % The new Sarasota Police Department headquarters was built on Adams Lane, across from Payne Park in downtown Sarasota. Photo by Norman Schimmel SHARE Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 67


City and county workers are preparing Lido Key Beach what is left of it, that is for the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix on Sunday, July 6. If the crowd size is comparable to last years gure, 100,000 people wil l view the races from the dwin dling beach. The race will occur at high tide, equating to the water level being 1.5 feet higher. While that will be good for the race boat s getting in and out of New Pass, that will further com press the dry beach area. The situation has Lido Key residents worried that the visitors may trample what remains of the dunes along the beach Carl Shoffstall, president of the Lido Key Residents Association, ran into County Commissioner Nora Patterson at the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associ ation (CONA) Erosion on Lido Key continues to worsen, resulting in residents pleas for renourishment. Photo by Norman Schimmel PROTECTING WHATS LEFT LIDO RESIDENTS ARE FRETTING OVER THE POTENTIAL FOR SUPER BOAT GRAND PRIX RACE WATCHERS TO TRAMPLE THEIR DUNES My hats off to the lifeguards, the Sarasota Police ofcers, the special events folks. Theyll do a great job of trying to minimize the impact on the resource. Todd Kucharski General Manager Landscaping, Parks and Environmental Services, City of Sarasota By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


candidates forum on June 23. In an email he sent out afterward, he wrote that he asked her, What is the plan to enforce the crowd from trampling the dunes and dune grass, since this is our last line of what little protection we have if there were a storm this summer? They need to be protected. In reality, the area is under county mainte nance even though it is within the City of Sarasota. When the city and county recon gured their decades-old park maintenance interlocal agreement several years ago, the county retained Lido Beach within its jurisdic tion. However, law and order there remains the responsibility of the city police. The citys general manager for landscap ing, parks and environmental services, Todd Kucharski, says the county will block off strategic pathways to keep people off the dunes. This should be pretty routine for the county, he added. It should be no different than last year. Meanwhile, the city police will be active in the area with ofcers on foot; in four-wheeldrive, all-terrain vehicles; and on bicycles. Kucharski says the police and Sarasota County Fire Department personnel will need to keep some pathways clear for emergency access as well. While temperatures in the lower 90s are predicted, the heat index will probably be in the low 100s, as it has been for much of the week. When we know were going to have a large number of people on the beach, The Lido Beach concession stand is a popular place, city staff says. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 69


some of them are g oing to need assistance, added Kucharski. City Police Officer William Bjork wrote Shoffstall an email, saying, The department has an extensive operational plan for the beachfront starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday with assigned officers on a beach patrol, turtle watch, and [taking care of] matters involving anyone setting up for the event in advance. While there are several erosion hot spots on Lido Beach, Kucharski says the one most noticeable to race-goers will be around the concession stand. Even on a normal beach day, it is crowded, and people tend to congregate there, he noted, adding that county workers will be roping off the areas of greatest concern to protect the integrity of the dunes. He praised the county and municipal work ers who will be stafng the event. My hats off to the lifeguards, the Sarasota Police of cers, the special events folks. Theyll do a great job of trying to minimize the impact on the resource. Many local residents seldom go to the beach. If you have not been to Lido recently, be pre pared for a surprise. The vast expanse of beach you remember from the past is gone. In some places, the high tide is lapping against shoreline structures. The City of Sarasota and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have proposed a 50-year plan to pump more sand onto the beach. That was the topic of yet more discussion at a County Commission workshop on June 30. (See the related story in this issu e.) % Share stories by clicking the icon in the menubar and choosing to share via e-mail, post to Facebook or Twitter, or many other sharing options. QUICK TIP Dont have your own subscription to The Sarasota News Leader ? Subscribe for FREE and receive a latest issue is available online. FREE SUBSCRIPTION Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 70


The Sarasota City commissioners will return from the Fourth of July weekend to face a full, even daunting agenda. A quarter-mil lion-dollar change order, private security for city buildings, policies for bayfront use and the question of how much do you need to pay to rename a park are among the topics. There are dueling memos over homelessness and a proposed cut to the membership of an advisory board. These are just a few of the questions coming up Monday afternoon and evening, July 7. CONSENT ON THE CONSENT AGENDA? The most obvious item of public angst will show up early in the afternoon meeting, the third item on the cons ent agenda. If no com missioner wants to talk about it, the board will simply approve it and move on. If one or more wants to discuss it, that could open the oodgates for public comment. The hot item is the creation of another down town nightclub, albeit one the owners say will not be a nightclub. The owners of Duvals New World Cafe on Main Street simply want to pour some whiskey, along with wine and beer, for their customers. But serving the hard stuff under current zoning rules demands a major conditional use for the operation of the business as a nightclub. The restaurants owners says they will not change the hours of operation, they will offer The Sarasota City Commission is facing a full agenda on July 7. Photo by Norman Schimmel CALL IT A FOUR ACES AGENDA A REQUEST FOR A NIGHTCLUB CONDITIONAL USE, A PROPOSED BAYFRONT POLICY, CHANGES ON AN ADVISORY BOARD AND HOMELESSNESS ISSUES ARE ON THE CITY COMMISSIONS JULY 7 AGENDA By Stan Zimmerman City Editor


a full menu every minute the doors are open to the public and they will feature live music only three times per year (New Years Eve, Fat Tuesday and their Nov. 14 anniversary). They have done everything but swear in blood to obey those conditions, and city staff is con dent any new owners would have to abide by the proffers. If no commissioner raises a nger Monday, the board will authorize the change, which won unanimous approval from the city Planning Board. Also on the consent is a change order to the $4 million project on Old Bradenton Road, the rst time that thoroughfare has been upgraded in decades. Contractor Gator Grading and Paving is asking for almost $255,000 more because of conflicts during construction with both public and private utility lines [that] have caused daily production and comple tion of the project to take much longer than expected or desired. The money will cover a nearly half-year-long extension of the project to create a modern and model avenue on the north side of the city. The delays came when previously unknown utility infrastructure was discovered during excavation. Work slowed until positive reso lution was achieved. Another consent agenda item is a $110,838 contract for a year of private security for city buildings. Diamond Investigations and Security won the bid with an hourly rate of $15.65 for armed guards. It will provide secu rity for the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, the Utilities and Public Works departments and the Municipal Auditorium. The Downtown The City Commission on Monday will be asked to vote on giving nightclub status to Duvals New World Caf so it can serve hard liquor. Photo from the restaurants website Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 72


Improvement Dis trict is considering a piggy back contract with Diamond for increased security downtown. LAND USE, LAND USE, LAND USE The unnished business section of the agenda will provide the opportunity for continued discussion of items commissioners sent back to staff for more work. One of those is the creation of a policy for the use of Island Park and the area around the bayfront the sec tion of highest visibility in the city. In the past, the city gave permission for the Season of Sculpture to place artwork along the bayfront as a type of outdoor gallery fea turing new works every two years. And the Embracing Our Differ ences organization received permission to display original poster art in Island Park. Another ad hoc decision was permission for the Unconditional Surrender statue to remain on the bayfront for a decade. On Monday, the commissioners will receive a draft of a formal policy on how organizations can petition the city to use the high-visibil ity property. An application must be led 120 days before any proposed placement could be made. After staff evaluation, it would be presented to the City Commission for nal approval. Applicants would assume liability for damages or injuries. The existing uses (Season of Sculpture, Embracing Our Differences and Unconditional Surrender ) would be vested and not require further review. Any minor requests, such The City Commission will consider a policy for use of Island Park and the surrounding bayfront area, though Season of Sculpture will be one of the few grandfathered uses. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 73


as plaques on park benches, would also be exempt from the new policy. A second piece of unnished business con cerns how to proceed with an expansion of the recently approved RROD, the Rosemary Residential Overlay District. Three property owners on the western side of the zone want their land to be in the district, too, but they joined the process too late to be part of the original privately nanced comprehensive plan change. The big issue is who should pay? The staff estimates the change could cost between $3,000 and $5,000. Applicants would like the city to incur the cost, but some com missioners objected previously to that idea. The Planning Board voted 4-0 on May 14 to recommend approval of the original RROD to the city commissioners. And it voted 4-0 to recommend expanding the district to the west. The City Commission already has sent the RROD plan to Tallahassee for approval, but it pulled the expansion aspect for greater discussion on Monday. The nal item of unnished business will be the regular discussion of homelessness in the city. This issue has become a land-use question, too, as two commissioners have argued against locating a shelter in the neigh borhoods in northern Sarasota. Following a contentious meeting of the City and County commissions on June 23, staff retreated to gure out the next steps. A city resident wants to improve Causeway Park between the Tony Saprito Fishing Pier and Harts Landing, underneath the eastern end of the John Ringling Causeway Bridge, and name it for his wife. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 74


A pair of duel ing memos resulted. (They are available on the city website .) And for the rst time, Maj. Ethan Frizzell, area commander of The Sarasota Salvation Army, contributes publicly to the debate with a long document to the city with his own suggested plan of action, one he calls hybrid housing. The Salvation Army is the only organization in the county offering shelter to vagrants and the homeless. Up to this point in the debate, Frizzell had remained quiet. Because th en-M ayor Shannon Snyder ordered a staff report on homelessness at every regu lar City Commission meeting, that segment of each session has become the only venue for focused discussion on the issue by policymak ers in the county. For the July 7 agenda, all of that is scheduled to happen in the afternoon. PARKS, PARKS, PARKS The evening sessions substantive discus sions will begin with a public hearing to reduce the size of the Parks, Recreation and Environmental Protection (PREP) Advisory The Municipal Auditorium will be among city buildings getting extra security. Photo by Ebyabe via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 75


Board. Currently at 11 members, the PREP board has recommended reducing the num ber to seven. The city commissioners agreed and ordered the appropriate ordinance be rewritten to reect the reduced number. They set the matter for public hearing on July 7. Under the new ordinance, three of the mem bers must have a regular afliation with the Bobby Jones Golf Course, the Lido Key Pool or the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex. The draft does not talk about who gets chopped off the board. Under New Business, the city commission ers will be asked to rename a small city park in return for $75,000 in improvements and an endowment of $50,000 for maintenance. Ernest Werlin wants to improve Causeway Park between the Tony Saprito Fishing Pier and Harts Landing, underneath the eastern end of t he John Ringling Causeway Bridge, and name it for his wife. Tony Saprito was a colorful city commissioner. The Hart family ran a bait shop for decades at the landing, until Dennis died a few years ago. Ringling you have already heard of, I am sure. For $125,000, Eloise Werlin can join them in memoriam. Ernest Werlin proposes building a small playground structure north of the existing pavilion, put up three shade elements along the perimeter walkway and plant a coastal garden adjacent to the playground structure. Staff recommends approval of the scheme, but it also asks whether the City Commission would like staff to draft a policy on how things should be named in the future, a nam ing administration policy. Obviously, there is none today. % Enter To Win A New iPad e contest concludes when e Sarasota News Leader achieves 1,000 Likes on Facebook, One winner will be selected at random from among subscribers. Only subscribers are eligible to win the iPad, regardless of having Liked our page on Facebook. Contest is open only to residents of Sarasota County. Selected winners must provide a valid Sarasota County street address to receive the iPad. Contest is void where prohibited by law. 2 Then Like Us On Facebook When our Likes on Facebook reach 1,000, we will randomly select one of our subscribers to receive a new iPad. 1 Click here to Subscribe Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 76


Sarasota County could be forced to pur chase new voting equipment after the 2016 elections because the manufacturer is not guaranteeing it will continue to service it in the future, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent has informed the Count y Commission. Dents chief of staff, Ron Turner, told The Sarasota News Leader that Sarasota County purchas ed the current syste m in 2007 for about $3.5 million. Turner declined to speculate on the cost of replace ment machines. Representatives of Dominion Voting, from which the county bought th e current equip ment, said the shelf life was expected to be four-and-a-half years, Dent said during her June 25 budget presen tation to the Dominion Voting is the vendor that supplied the current elections equipment in Sarasota County. Image from the Dominion Voting website AN UNWELCOME POSSIBILITY THE SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS SAYS THE COUNTY MAY BE FORCED TO PURCHASE NEW VOTING MACHINES BECAUSE OF A COMPANY DECISION NOT TO KEEP SERVICING THE EXISTING ONES They have us over a barrel if they end up not supporting what we have. Kathy Dent Supervisor of Elections Sarasota County By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


commissioners. Yet, the countys machines are in their seventh year, she pointed out. They have us over a barrel if they end up not supporting what we have, she added. Dominion is one of the two major vendors in Florida that have U.S. Election Assistance Commission certication for voting machines, Dent noted, and both rms have new prod ucts on the market. Commissioner Nora Patterson asked whether Dent has heard reports about the machines malfunctioning after a certain period of time or whether, as it seemed to Patterson, the manufacturers are rendering the equipment obsolete. If the latter is the case, Patterson added, Its a very self-serving thing. Dent replied that Patterson was correct in her guess about the motive being self-serving, saying, Its exactly what theyre doing. Its a statewide issue, Patterson pointed out, to which Dent responded, Its a nation wide issue. Yeah, but thats harder to control, Patterson told her, adding that the County Commission could let its legislators know of its concerns about the matter. Its a conversation that we definitely are going to have, Dent said of Florida supervi sors of elections bringing the matter to the attention of the state Legislature. Some counties have waited and waited to replace their equipment, Dent pointed out, not knowing whether to move now or wait. Im sure wed be glad to help press the case to the Legislature, Patterson told Dent. Since youre the ones that have to purchase the system, Dent replied. It seems appropriate for you to spearhead [the discussion with the state legislators] and then well climb on board, Patterson said. Ill do it, Dent responded. In response to a question from Commissioner Joe Barbetta, Dent reported that during the 2008 presidential election, about 40 percent of the countys voters cast absentee ballots. I would not support [buying] any more machines, Barbetta told Dent. Id push hard for voting by mail, though the state would have to approve that, he added. The voter turnout is much, much greater. They can sit at their kitchen table at mid night in t heir pajamas and vote if they want Kathy Dent is the supervisor of elections in Sarasota County. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 78


to, Dent replied. Im personally in support of it as well. Already, Dent noted, a number of other counties have used voting by mail in one-is sue referenda. During her presentation, Dent also pointed out that the Sarasota County School Boards March referendum for continuation of the special 1-mill tax which was approved was the lowest-priced standalone election that we have done in my whole tenure. (This was her 14th appearance before the commis sion to present her ofces budget, she said at the outset of her remarks.) The $400,000 exp ense for that referendum, she added, was a result of the countywide redis tricting approved by the commission in 2012, when the number of precincts was reduced from 156 to 99. Im hoping that the trend [of lower expenses ] is goi ng to continue. The slight uptick in the proposed budget for the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Ofce in the 2015 scal year is related to the November elections. Image courtesy Supervisor of Elections Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 79


On a related point, Dent said this year that her staff will be implementing the use of electronic poll books, which should provide for simpler voter check-ins at the polls. The system utilizes mini iPads to scan drivers licenses, she added. Her staff conducted a test run during the March election in the Town of Longboat Key, she noted. The poll workers loved it. Dent also reminded the commissioners that county staff still needs to resolve the matter of nding additional space for the storage of its voting equipment. The board heard a brief update on that in May, with county Facilities Services Director Ed Gable saying staff was continuing to explore options. Dent told the commissioners on June 25 that she just hopes whenever staff brings a rec ommendation to them about the space, You will take it into serious consideration for the safety and security of the equipment. The equipment is stored at the countys BOB Building in an industrial park north of Fruitville Road and east of downtown Sarasota. We hear you, Chairman Charles Hines told Dent. Its on our list. Dents total preliminary budget request for the 2015 scal year is $3,926,361, up slightly this fiscal years total of $3,829,297. Dent explained, as she has in the past, that her budget is always higher in election years. In November, she noted, voters will go to the polls to cast their ballots for governor as well as for l ocal candidates. % For the best viewing experience on a computer click the icon in the menubar to zoom to fullscreen mode. QUICK TIP Share stories via e-mail, post to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest SHARE Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 80


SIESTA SEEN Do not call it the Si esta tro lley anymore. The new Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) route that will be launched on July 12 to serve Siesta Key will be one of six island buses, Kendra Keiderling, marketing and public out reach coordinator for SCAT, told about 20 members of the Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA) during their regular meeting on July 1. Were doing a huge media blitz, she said, to get the word out about Route 10, which will be intertwined with the existing Route 11, to make sure people wait no more than 20 min utes for a bus to Siesta Key. The new service also will travel to Turtle Beach, as previously reported, but it will reach that destination every hour, Keiderling pointed out. While she did not know the background, she indicated that a trademark situation prevents SCAT from calling the new service a trol ley. Nonetheless, six brand new SCAT buses that will serve Siesta, Longboat Key and St. Armands will be wrapped in an islandthe med design, Ke iderling continued. It just helps the customers to easily recognize the buses. One of them was scheduled to be in the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival Parade of Boats in downtown Sarasota on July 3, she noted. Additionally, SCAT has created radio com mercials with the local band Next Level singing a revised version of the song Ill Take You There substituting Well for Ill to promote the new SCAT routes, including ser vice starting on July 12 at Lakewood Ranch. We want to make [advertising] catchy and really make people think about taking mass transit, she told the SKVA members. Memos also will be going out the local Chambers of Commerce, Keiderling said. Part of the effort is a rebranding of SCAT, Keiderling explained to me in early June. On July 1, she told the SKVA members that pan els on the sides of other new 13 SCAT buses will have messages including SCAT to the library, SCAT to the airport and SCAT to the parks. SIESTA KEY VILLAGE ASSOCIATION MEMBERS URGE EXPANDED MARKETING OF THE NEW ISLAND BUS SERVICE; THE OUTDOOR DISPLAY ISSUE WILL START ITS COUNTY CONSIDERATION PROCESS IN AUGUST; AND THE 2014 CRYSTAL CLASSIC DATES HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED By Rachel Brown Hackney Editor


SKVA memb ers had several concerns, how ever, including the lack of promotion about the new service at this point. Secretary Helene Hyland told Keiderling, We barely know about it, to be honest with you, adding, Weve seen people evaluate and make judg ments too quickly sometimes on routes that should have been given more time. Past SKVA President Russell Matthes also pointed out that because summer is not nearly as busy a tourist time for the key, county staff needs to understand that the use of the route is initially going to be pre tty soft. Hyland suggested Keiderling arrange to have one of the island buses on display in Siesta Village one day with a SCAT representative selling passes. Perhaps the county could offer free passes that day, too, Hyland added. I think more will have to be done to educate the residents. Its off-season, Lourdes Ramirez said, so you may have people trying it out. Keiderling replied that she would try to arrange a display of a bus in Siesta Village one day toward the end of July. That would be great. Kendra Keiderling, marketing and public outreach coordinator for Sarasota County Area Transit, explains features of the systems new island buses to members of the Siesta Key Village Association. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 82


Hyland further suggested SCAT include a bus in the Light Up the Village holiday parade on Nov. 29, when business owners will kick off the holiday season. Oh, we can do that, definitely, Keiderling replied. Another concern members raised is the fact that SCAT will not accept debit or credit cards for tickets or passes. Keiderling said she has no idea why that rule is in place. On the posi tive side, she pointed out that the department will allow an entity such as the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce to sell passes on a consignment basis. Debra Lynn-Schmitz, the chambers executive director, told Keiderling, Id be happy to discuss it. Hyland suggested Keiderling look into the possibility of a south Siesta business that would sell passes as well. Keiderling was headed to Turtle Beach after the SKVA meet ing, she responded, so she planned to check into that. Kay Kouvatsos, co-owner of Village Caf, asked whether people would be able to use credit or debit cards to purchase passes at the Chamber ofce if that arrangement is worked out. Keiderling said all transactions have to be by cash or check. We get a lot of mail complaining about that, she added. Glen Cappetta, owner of Sun Ride Pedicabs pointed out that people can even swipe debit cards on his bikes. (From left) Russell Matthes, Siesta Key Village Association (SKVA) President Wendall Jacobsen and SKVA Treasurer Roz Hyman look over the new Island Bus route information. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 83


Nobody carries cash, past SKVA President Cheryl Gaddie noted. In response to a question about whether SCAT would be putting up signs to advertise the new service, Keiderling replied, We dont want to do a lot of signs right now [at Siesta Public Beach] just because of the renovations. Weve had discussions with Parks and Recreation [Department staff] about this. Nonetheless, she said, SCAT will put up a couple of temporary signs to alert people to the Turtle Beach service. She already has met with the Beach Ambassadors, the volunteers who assist visitors at the public beach, she A map and schedule have been released by Sarasota County Area Transit for the new island bus that will serve Siesta Key, including Turtle Beach. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 84


poin ted out, and they are going to be spread ing the word about the new route. Keiderling also explained that SCAT is replac ing all of its 2,000 signs to include QR codes People with smartphones will be able to scan the codes to learn when the next bus on a route will arrive. Youre getting realtime information. As for the cost: A full day pass is $4; a pass for one ride is $1.25. Seasonal passes (good November through February) and monthly passes also are available. Details about other costs are available on the SCAT page of the county website OUTDOOR DISPLAY REVISION UPDATE During the SKVA meeting this week, past President Cheryl Gaddie said she had received an email from Mark Toomey of Robin Hood Rentals, one of the leaders of a committee that has proposed a revision of the Siesta Key Overlay District to allow for some outdoor displays by retail merchants and rental companies. The Sarasota County Planning Commission will consider the request during its Aug. 7 meeting in the County Commission Chambers at the Administration Center on Ringling Boulevard in downtown Sarasota, Gaddie read Mark Toomey, owner of Robin Hood Rentals in Siesta Village, has arranged his outdoor displays over the past months so they comply with a proposed new ordinance for the island. File photo Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 85


from the email. The m eeting will start at 6:30 p.m., Donna Thompson, the countys assistant zoning administrator, has informed Toomey. The County Commission rst will address the matter during its morning session on Wednesday, Sept. 24, Gaddie continued. At that meeting, the board is expected to vote to advertise a public hearing on the proposal. The public hearing is set for Tuesday, Oct. 21, in the afternoon. Thompson asked that SKVA members in sup port of the revision attend those meetings, Gaddie added. There are legitimate concerns still, Kay Kouvatsos pointed out, referring to evidence that some Village merchants have refused to comply with the proposed outdoor dis play parameters as a show of support for the revised ordinance. Toomey and other committee members had asked all business owners to abide by the recommended new guidelines while county staff worked on getting the matter before the Planning and County commissions. THE NEXT CRYSTAL CLASSIC The dates have been announced for the fth annual Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition. The event will be held Nov. 14-18, featuring the work of 24 premier master sand sculptors from all over the world, a news release says. The Crystal Classic has become a favorite of many of the profe ssional sand sculptors who hav e competed [in it], the release adds. Citing the beauty and cleanliness of the pris tine white sand, sculptors have remarked that their sculptures look almost as if they are carved in marble, the release notes. The 2014 schedule includes the following: All-day viewing of the works Nov. 14-18. A special Mobi-Mat will be placed on the sand for easier walking on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 17 and 18. A Vendor Village with more than 50 booths will be open Nov. 14-17. Live entertainment will start at noon Friday, Nov. 14, through Sunday, Nov. 16. An amateur sand sculpting contest will be held on Saturday, Nov. 15. Siesta Santa will be seated on his sand throne again, making a great photo op for Christmas cards, the release notes. A new event will be offered this year: Taste of Siesta on Saturday, Nov. 15, from 6 to 10 p.m. This fundraiser will feature more than 15 local restaurants, an open bar and live music by Alli & the Venturas. Advance tickets will be $40. Off-site shuttle service will be offered on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 15 and 16, from Riverview High School on Lords Avenue, the release adds. Proceeds of the Siesta Key Crystal Classic benet Mote Marine Laboratorys sea turtle research and conservation programs. Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 86


Michela Ciopini and Jan Zelinka work on World Breathe on Nov. 15, 2013. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 87


For mo re information about the Siesta Key Crystal Classic contact the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, call 349-3800; email or visit NEEDED: YOUR BLOOD A blood drive will be hosted by Beach Bazaar in Siesta Village from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 6, Kay Kouvatsos, co-owner of Village Caf announced at the July 1 SKVA meeting. Each participant will earn a free daiquiri from the Daiquiri Deck and a free breakfast at Village Caf. If you are among the rst 10 donors, you also will receive a free T-shirt courtesy of Beach Bites Suncoast Blood Bank will conduct the drive, Kouvatsos added. Summer usually is a slow time for collections, blood bank representatives say, although contributions are just as much in demand for healthcare centers. % Brainstorm won top honors in the 2013 Crystal Classic. Photo by Robert Hackney Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 88


The City of Sarasota administrative ofces will be closed Friday, July 4, in obser vance of Independence Day, the city has announced. Most Sarasota County govern ment ofces, including the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County, also will be closed, the county has announced. In the city, garbage, recycling, yard waste and bulk waste will not be picked up on Friday, July 4, a news release points out. That col lection will occur one day later, on Saturday, July 5. For inquiries regarding city garbage col lection, the public may contact the Public Works Department at 365-7651. For ques tions about recycling, yard waste and bulk waste collec tion, Waste Management may be reached at 497-8088, the release adds. County so lid waste, yard waste and recy clable collections normally scheduled for Friday pickup will resume on Saturday, July 5, according to county staff. The landll at 4000 Knights Trail Road in Nokomis and the Sarasota County chemical collection centers at 8750 Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota and 250 S. Jackson Road in Venice, along with the Citizens Convenience Center at 4010 Knights Trail Road in Nokomis, will be closed. Other City of Sarasota holiday hours follow: Bobby Jones Golf Club: regular hours, 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m City Hall will be closed on July Fourth. Photo by Norman Schimmel LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICES CLOSED FOR JULY FOURTH NEWS BRIEFS


Lido Pool: regular hours, 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Robert L. Taylor Community Complex: open 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Steigerwaldt-Jockey Childrens Fountain on the Saras ota bayfront: closed. In the county, all libraries and recreation centers will be closed, a county news release says. Payne Park Tennis Center, located at 2050 Adams Lane in Sarasota, will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) will not operate on July 4; it will resume normal weekend hours on Saturday, July 5, the release adds. The Orange Avenue Parking Lot, located at the southeast corner of Orange Avenue and Second Street in downtown Sarasota, will be closed from Wednesday, July 9, through the end of the month, the City of Sarasota has announced. The temporary closure is necessary while crews make much needed drainage improve ments to the ood-prone area and reconstruct and repave the parking lot, a news release explains. The project was scheduled during the summer to lessen the impact on the public, the release adds. Drivers are encouraged to use available on-street parking as well as the nearby First Street Parking Lot and the Second Street garage (adjacent to Whole Foods), both just a short walk away, the release notes. The project manager and the citys parking manager have been in contact with nearby business owners about the temporary closure and have recommended alternative parking options, the release adds. Approximately 20 spaces will be affected. Three on-street spaces along Orange Avenue also will be unavailable for approxi mately one week, the release notes. ORANGE AVENUE PARKING LOT TO BE CLOSED AT SECOND STREET The City of Sarasota will close the parking lot at the intersection of Orange Avenue and Second Street on July 9 so repairs can be made to it. Image from Google Maps Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 90


With permis sion of the United States Coast Guard, New Pass will be closed to public ves sel trafc from 10 a.m. until the conclusion of the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix (approx imately 4 p.m.) on Sunday, July 6, the Sarasota Police Department has announced. The navigable channel of New Pass inter cedes the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix racecourse, a news release points out. Therefore, its closure is necessary for safety purposes. Big Pass, Longboat Pass and Venice Inlet will be open and unaffected by this event, the release notes. Local law enforcement ofcers will be pres ent west of the New Pass bridge to notify vessels of the closure while it is in effect, the release adds. The cove just under the bridge will remain o pen to vessels, it says. NEW PASS TO BE CLOSED MOST OF THE DAY ON JULY 6 Representatives of District One of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will host a public meeting on July 8 regarding the design improvements planned for U.S. 41 from 10th Street to 14th Street in Sarasota, the department has announced. The meeting will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. in the grand foyer at Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, located at 777 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. The project is part of an overall plan to enhance mobility within downtown Sarasota, a news release says. The initiative includes roundabouts with islands for pedestrian refuge at the U.S. 41 intersections with 10th and 14th streets; enhanced pedestrian walkways, bicy cle and transit facilities and landscaping; and narrower travel lanes, the release points out. The purpose of the meeting is to give inter ested people the opportunity to view the proposed design, th e release notes. FDOT will utilize an informal open house format with display boards of the roadway improve ments, the release adds. A 3-D visualization of the proposed improvements will run con tinuously during the meeting, the release says. There will be no formal presentation, it continues, so participants are welcome to attend at any time between 5 and 7 p.m. Department staff will be available to discuss the project, receive public comments and answer questions. Persons with disabilities who may require special accommodations at the meeting under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and persons who require translation services (free of charge) should contact Jamie Schley, District One Title VI coordinator, at 863-5192573 or by email at jamie.schley@dot.state. .us as soon as possible, the release notes. FDOT TO HOST JULY 8 MEETING ON SARASOTA ROUNDABOUTS SHARE Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 91


A Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) map shows the locations of planned roundabouts at 10th and 14th streets in Sarasota. Image courtesy FDOT Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 92


As part of an ongoing utilities capital improve ment project, City of Sarasota crews will begin work Monday, July 7, to line a 30-inch gravity sewer pipe in the Avondale neighbor hood to minimize groundwater inltration, the city has announced. Access to Lincoln Drive and Irving Street from U.S. 41 will be unavailable from Monday, July 14, until the rst week in September, a news release points out. Trafc will be detoured to Bahia Vista Street. The project also will necessitate the use of one southbound lane of U.S. 41 for two nights, reducing the travel lanes in that direction from three to two. The right southbound lane just north of Lincoln Drive will be closed for that work, the release notes. Lining gravity pipes helps to significantly reduce groundwater inltration into the citys wastewater system and, as a result, lowers the stress on the overall system, the release explains. Crews will use a trenchless tech nique, known as cured-in-place piping, so no open road cuts will be necessary, it notes. Approximately 0.28 miles (1,500 feet) of pipe will be lined. Prior to the start of the work, crews will clean the interior of the pipe and run a video camera through it to inspect for defects, the release adds. The actual lining and cured-in-place portion of the project takes approximately eight to 10 hours; the work will be done in segments throughout the neighborhood, the release notes. Residents will be notied prior to the lining process starting in their particular area, the release adds. During that eightto 10-hour period, residents will have normal access to potable water; however, sewer service will be limited, the release points out. Residents are asked to help reduce the amount of water flowing into the sewer system during that time. This may be done by taking the follow ing actions, the release says: Do not wa sh clothes or dishes. Do not take showers or baths. Flush toilets sparingly. Do not operate sump pumps, which are connected to the sewer system. This project is part of an ongoing effort by the City of Sarasota to maintain and rehabil itate the citys aging utilities infrastructure, the release concl udes. SEWER LINING PROJECT CONTINUING, WITH TRAFFIC IMPACTS EXPECTED An aerial view shows Lincoln Drive, Irving Street and U.S. 41 in Sarasota. Image courtesy Google Maps Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 93


Following a J une 20 sh-off during which seven anglers caught nine tarpon in a single morning, the Sarasota Tarpon Tournament nal results have been released, organizers have announced. David Sugar claimed rst place, hauling in a tarpon with a girth of 38 inches, a news release says. Clark Nash earned second place; his tarpon had a 38-inch-girth. Dave Robinson nished in third, having caught a sh with a 34-inch-girth, the release notes. Leading the special divisions, Brent Wilson nished rst in the Fly Division, having caught a tarpon with a 32-inch girth near Lido Key on May 20. Landon Forde earned rst in the Youth Division, with a tarpon whose girth was 32 inches, the release continues. He caught it near Turtle Beach on June 6. Lynn Lessley won the Womens Division, with a tarpon that had a girth of 34 inches. Lessley was shing near Anna Maria Island on June 9. Brent Wilson won the Smallest Tarpon Division; his sh, landed in Sarasota Bay on June 4, had a 9-inch girth. Ron Albritton and Lynn Lessley won the His/Hers Division with a combined total girth (of two tarpon) measuring 70 inches, the release points out. Finally, Jamie Smith won the Most Releases Division with 11 sh. The nalists will be recognized at an awards banquet on July 19 at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota in downtown Sarasota. Cocktails will be served at 6:30 p.m., with dinner at 7:15 p.m., the release says. Check in will begin at 6 p.m. Anglers registration fees included seats for them at the banquet, the release notes, but guests will be charged $35 per person at the door; cash or check only. Everyone planning to attend the banquet is asked to RSVP on the tournament website no later than July 11, the release says. 2014 TARPON TOURNAMENT FINAL RESULTS ANNOUNCED Matt Krycinski of Bedford, VA (right) releases the rst tarpon he ever caught. On June 7, he was shing with Mason Tush of CBs Saltwater Outfitters as part of the annual Sarasota Tarpon Tournament. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 94


Venues Today has ra nked the City of Sarasotas Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall No. 1 in the country in the 2000-seat category in the mag azines 2014 mid-season publication, the Van Wezel staff has announced This is the third time Sarasotas performing arts hall has ranked at the top of the chart, a news release points out. The recognition helps the Van Wezel book the biggest and best shows and performers on the road, the release points out. Exe cutive Director Mary Bensel said in the release, Our 2013-14 sea son has been amazi ng, from having Jay Leno here the night after he closed out his 30-plusyear run of The Tonight Show to presenting John Legend at the height of his popularity with his All Of Me Tour and the No. 1 sin gle in the nation to having two of the hottest shows in the summer: Move Live on Tour and American Idol she added in the release. This year has been a nonstop whirl of great shows and sellout crowds, with 74 of them performing above budget. VENUES TODAY RANKS VAN WEZEL NO. 1 IN ITS SIZE CATEGORY The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall has been named No. 1 among venues of its size in the nation. Photo by Norman Schimmel Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 95


Along with a recor d number of human visitors this year, Siesta Key and Lido Key have more birds nesting on their beaches this season, Sarasota Audubon members say. That is why the organization is seeking help to protect the birds and, especially, chicks, during the 2014 Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival Tens of thousands of visitors who come to Sarasota for the festival will be sharing the beaches with the nesting birds, a news release points out. The Grand Prix, which is set for July 6, will be the grand nale of the activities. We need a few more people to volunteer as beach stewards and chick checkers during the week of the Grand Prix to help keep our birds, nests and chicks safe, said Sarasota Audubon President Jeanne Dubi in the release. With the help of the public, we may be able t o say that weve had the best year ever for our beach nesting birds. Lido Beach is of particular concern to Dubi, the release notes. The large colony of Black Skimmers that has taken up residence at Lido this year is located in what will be the heart of the boat [race] festivities, the release adds. Black Skimmers, like other beach nesting birds, lay their eggs right on the sand, which makes them vulnerable to walkers, joggers, volleyball players and visitors in general, the release explains. The county h as put a double buffer around the colony, but we need a few more people to help us protect this area during Grand Prix week and through August, added Dubi in the release. SARASOTA AUDUBON SEEKING MORE CHICK CHECKERS FOR THE HOLIDAY The public is being asked to watch out for nesting birds and chicks on Siesta and Lido beaches over the July Fourth holiday. Photo by Hans Hillewaert via Wikimedia Commons Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 96


Many visit ors will also visit Siesta Key pub lic beach while they are here. According to Bob Luckner who organizes the Audubon beach stewards for that island, 10 percent of Floridas imperiled Snowy Plover population nests on Siesta Key. Luckner offers the following suggestions to the public to help protect the birds: Give a wide berth (30 to 50 feet) to the nest ing areas (dunes and posted zones) and feeding birds (tired parents!), the release points out. Look out for chicks running around. Leave dogs at home. Just the sign of a dog or cat may ush a bird from her nest per manently. Additionally, a county law makes it illegal for anyone to bring a dog onto the Siesta and Lido beaches. Anyone who would like to become a chick checker or beach steward may contact Jeanne Dubi at to volunteer at Lido Beach and Bob Luckner at to volunteer at Siesta Key beach. For more information, visit www. Sarasota County will host three public workshops at multiple locations as it seeks comments from area residents and business owners about the countys future solid waste master plan, the county has announced. Were looking forward to community mem bers attending these workshops, because we value their feedback, said Kristina King, business manager for the Sarasota County Solid Waste Department, in a news release. Together we can guide the future for turn ing solid waste into a resource for Sarasota County. The workshops are scheduled as follows: Tuesday, July 8, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Venice Public Library, 300 S. Nokomis Ave., Venice. Wednesday, July 9, 7 to 9 p.m., Lemon Bay Park and Environmental Center meeting room, 570 Bay Park Blvd., Englewood. Thursday, July 10, 7 to 9 p.m., Twin Lakes Park, Green Building conference room, 6700 Clark Road, Sarasota. For more information, visit or call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 861-5000. COUNTY SEEKING PUBLIC COMMENTS ON SOLID WASTE MASTER PLAN A combination trash/recycling container has been in use as part of a pilot program at some beach accesses. Photo by Rachel Hackney Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 97


On June 25, the Fl orida Department of Health in Sarasota County (DOH-Sarasota) con rmed a case of chikungunya (chik-en-gun-ye) fever in an individual who recently traveled to the Dominican Republic, the department announced. The individual is recovering from the illness, a news release says. The concern about chi kungunya, a disease spread by bites from infected mosquitoes, was heightened state wide in May when health ofcials started to learn of cases occurring in residents across the state who had traveled to Caribbean islands, the release adds. As of June 25, the release continued, there had been no reports of anyone acquiring chikung unya in Sarasota County, the state of Florida or in any other U.S. state, it points out. Sporadic cases of this mosquito-borne disease can occur without any relation to the current outbreak in the Caribbean, the release notes. Local health ofcials were notied in early spring of an isolated case of the disease in a person who had traveled to Asia. The individ ual, who rst became ill in late December, is recovering and still travels, the release adds. Avoiding mosquito bites is the key to pre venting infection with chikungunya and other mosquito-borne diseases, said DOHSarasota Medical Director Dr. William CASE OF CHIKUNGUNYA FEVER CONFIRMED IN SARASOTA COUNTY Image courtesy Florida Department of Health Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 98


Heymann in th e release. The typical sum mer rain pattern increases mosquito activity. Resident s and visitors are urged to take pre cautions to reduce sources of standing water, which serve as mosquito breeding sites, and to prevent mosquito bites. Aedesspecies mosquitoes transmit the chiku ngunya virus and the dengue virus, Sarasota County Mosquito Management Director Matt Smith said in the release. These mosqui toes bite mostly during the daytime and are associated with the accumulation of water in man-made containers that serve as breeding sites, he added in the release. Smith urges residents to make sure their window screens are in good order as a means of reducing the risk of mosquitoes getting into their homes. The Health Department offers other sug gestions to help people thwart the threat of mosquito bites: Drain water from garbage cans, house gut ters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, ower pots and any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected. Empty and clean birdbaths and pets water bowls at least once or twice a week. Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that do not accumulate water. Maintain swimming pools and ensure they are appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when they are not in use. Wear shoes, socks, long pants and longsleeve tops. Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Alw ays use repellents according to the labels. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and IR3535 are effec tive, the release notes. Repair broken screens on windows, doors, porches and patios. Symptoms of chikungunya include sudden onset of high fever with a temperature greater than 102 degrees; severe joint pain, mainly in the arms and legs; headache; muscle pain; back pain; and rash, the release points out. Symptoms appear on average about three to seven days after a person has been bitten by an infected mosquito. The majority of people feel better after a few days or weeks; how ever, some people may develop long-term effects, the release notes. If you are not feeling well, consult with your healthcare provider immediately and pro tect yourself against additional mosquito bites. Avoiding mosquito bites while you are sick will help to protect others from get ting infected, the release say s. For more information, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 861-5000 or the Health Departments Sarasota Disease Intervention Services at 861-2837. An article in the June 20 issue, By the numbers included a photo of artwork in a roundabout that was reported to be in Grand Junction, CO. Rod Warner of US41Momentum let the News Leader know that the production of a city presentation incorporating that photo listed the wrong location. The artwork is in Bend, OR. CORRECTION Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 99

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The Sarasota Co unty Sheriffs Ofce Public Safety Communications (PSC) center has been re-accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), the Sheriffs Ofce has announced. CALEA accreditation is accomplished through a highly regarded and broadly rec ognized body of professional standards and represents acceptance of an ongoing obliga tion to professional excellence by working toward compliance with all applicable stan dards, a news release points out. I am proud of the men and women in our Emergency Operati ons Bureau and what they do for citizens every day, said Sheriff Tom Knight in the release. Answering 911 calls is stressful, but accreditation rec ognizes their professionalism in public safety telecommunications. The PSC received its initial accreditation for communications from CALEA in 2002, the release notes. It has been re-accredited every three years since then. The PSC also holds accreditation for emergency medical, re and law enforcement dispatch by the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED), the release adds. PUBLIC SAFETY COMMUNICATIONS CENTER EARNS RE-ACCREDITATION ( From left) Emergency Operations Bureau Capt. Jeff Slapp, Pam Jones, Kris Adams and Sheriff Tom Knight. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 100

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The 13th an nual presentation of the Dolphin Aviation Academic Scholarships was held on June 26 at Dolphin Aviation, located at 8191 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota, the com pany announced. State Rep. Jim Boyd of District 71, which includes parts of Manatee and Sarasota counties, and Dolphin Aviation owner Ron Ciaravella handled the honors, a news release says. This year, Dolphin Aviation presented a $1,000 scholarship to each of the follow ing students: Christina Meiser of Sarasota Military Academy, who will attend Florida Southern College. Tyler Lentini of Sarasota High School, who will attend Florida Gulf Coast University. Daysha Bradley of Palmetto High School, who will attend the State College of Florida. Kelly Felix of Venice High School, who will attend the University of Central Florida. Taylor Ziesloft of Manatee High School, who will attend the University of Florida. DOLPHIN AVIATION ACADEMIC SCHOLARSHIPS PRESENTED TO FIVE Left) Rep. Jim Boyd and Ron Ciaravella (right) congratulate Christina Meiser (second from left) and Daysha Bradley. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 101

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Susan Kenyon has been named executive director of Sarasota Crew, a nonprot organi zation providing middleand high school-age Sarasota County youth with positive, com petitive rowing experiences that cultivate personal integrity, self-esteem, teamwork and sportsmanship, while instilling a lifelong commitment to a healthful lifestyle, the orga nization has announced in a news release. Susan has been a dedicated member of the Sarasota Crew family and the board of direc tors for many years, said Dr. Mark Burne, chairman of Sarasota Crew, in the news release. She comes to this position with an impressive record of fundraising for local nonprots, he added. In her new role, Kenyon will lead the orga nizations community outreach efforts and work with the board, the director of rowing, Sarasota Crew families and community orga nizations, the release notes. As a parent of a rower, volunteer and board member, I have experienced rsthand what a transformational experience Sarasota Crew is for hundreds of our local youth, Kenyon said in the release. From watching the excite ment of new middle school participants in our learn-to-row program to seeing the physical development, commitment and dedication as these students become young athletes, she added in the release, she has seen how rowing can lead to opportunities in higher educa tional opportunities. A number of high school seniors from Sarasota County have gone on to study and row at top universities, she points out in the release. Kenyon most recently served as vice president of sales for MoneyShow one of the largest producers of investment trade shows serving individual investors, nancial advisors and active traders, the release continues. She also worked as the vice president of devel opment for the Center for Building Hope, a nonprot organization in Lakewood Ranch that offers free support programs to people impacted by cancer, the release says Sarasota Crews 2013-2014 roster included nearly 300 middle school, novice and varsity rowers, ages 10 to 18, and Masters rowers, ages 30 and up, the release notes. For more information, visit KENYON NAMED EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SARASOTA CREW Susan Kenyon/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 102

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Pine View School language arts teacher Fran Squires has been named the 2014 Outstanding Middle Level Educator in the English Language Arts by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the Sarasota County School District has announced. NCTE is a 35,000-member organization dedi cated to improving the teaching and learning of English language arts at all levels, a news release says. The organizations announcement of the honor said the award recognizes exceptional English language arts teachers working with students in grades six to eight who have demonstrated excellence in teaching and inspired a spirit of inquiry and a love of learn ing in their students. Squires teaches sixth-grade gifted and advanced-level English language arts, the release notes. Because Pine View is a school for gifted students, its sixth-grade curricu lum covers material students in other district schools normally would study in the seventh grade, the release points out. To help her students develop into accom plished readers and writers, Squires sets high expectations, provides an environment rich in literary materials and encourages creative writing and portfolio building, the release says. Many of her students have been recog nized in state and national writing contests. Further, Squires has written grants to fund a number of innovative programs and projects, including the Pine View student literary mag azine Portable Prose and Poetry the release adds. She also sec ured the funding for an economics project titled The Ugly Mug in which students packed chocolate cake ingre dients into recycled coffee mugs, the release notes. Squires also served for several years as a teacher advisor for SCOPE magazine, the national literary publication of the Scholastic Corp., the release continues. The NCTE award is gratifying because it is an endorsement of her work by her peers, Squires said in the release. I am personally thrilled to win this award after a long career in education, she added. More information about NCTE is available on its website % PINE VIEW TEACHER RECEIVES NATIONAL RECOGNITION Fran Squires/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 103

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Sarasota Cou nty Sh eriffs Office Marine Patrol deputies stopped seven vessels to conduct safety checks, arrested two people for Boating Under the Inuence (BUI) and issued three written warnings and one cita tion during Operation Dry Water, a national BUI awareness and enforcement campaign conducted locally on waterways and at boat ramps in Englewood, Nokomis and Venice over the previous weekend, the Sheriffs Ofce has reported. Over the course of three days, the ofces personnel engaged in increased patrols, life jacket checks and boater education, a news release says. Alcohol limits are the same on the water as on the road, so anyone boating with a .08 breath alcohol concentration (BAC) or above can be arrested, it adds. The two men arrested Charles Lamb, 51, of 5631 Lingle St., North Port; and William Bunn, 27, of 108 Pearl Avenue South, Nokomis crashed into pilings when they were trying to dock, the release adds. At Indian Mound Park in Englewood, a Sheriffs Ofce sergeant observed Lambs ves sel come in sideways and strike the pylons several times, according to the report. At the Nokomis Boat Ramp, a deputy observed Bunn ram the bow of his boat into a piling. Once the boat was secured to the dock, the report continues, Bunn appeared to fall from the drivers seat into the water. Once he was back in the boat, the report says, he used the seats and railings to steady himself. Lamb had four passengers in his boat when he was approached by law enforcement ofcers, Image courtesy OPERATION DRY WATER RESULTS RELEASED BY SHERIFFS OFFICE CRIME BLOTTER

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the news release notes. He blew a 0.144 BAC, the release adds. He also had a warrant for Battery in a Charlotte County case. Although Bunn was just under the legal limit for alcohol, the release continues, the Sheriffs Office requested a urine sample because of signicant signs of impairment during Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and Evaluations. Results are due in about a month. During the operation deputies also responded to three emergency calls for service, includ ing helping the Coast Guard locate a vessel that was taking on water 10 miles offshore, the release points out. While this operation has ended, Marine Patrol deputies continue to be vigilant and will increase patrols again throughout the Fourth of July holiday weekend, it adds. Charles Lamb/Contributed photo William Bunn/Contributed photo ARREST MADE IN ATTEMPTED ROBBERY AT DOLLAR GENERAL The Sarasota County Sheriffs Office has arrested the man responsible for the attempted robbery at Dollar General on Bee Ridge Road Sunday afternoon, June 29, the ofce has announced. The clerk reported that the suspect walked into the store, demanded she open the regis ter and implied he had a gun, a news release says. When the clerk told him to get out of the store, the release continues, the suspect left in a newer model light green sedan. The clerk described him as a white male who was 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighing about 180 pounds and in his mid-30s with a goatee. He was wearing a white shirt with Mario Brothers characters on it, gray shorts and black Nike shoes with red trim, according to the clerks description. Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 105

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Mario Smith/Contributed photo Late on the night of July 1, the release notes, deputies conducted a trafc stop on a green Hyundai and subsequently arrested Mario Smith, 33, of 4024 Fleet Lane, Sarasota, for Possession of Narcotic Equipment. During a search of the vehicle, deputies also found clothing exactly as described by the clerk, the release says. Deputies contacted the detective on the case and brought Smith in for questioning. Smith admitted that he was at the Dollar General but denied trying to rob the store, the release continues. He is also charged with Attempted Robbery and his vehicle was seized. Smith has an extensive arrest history that includes charges of Domestic Battery, drug sales and possession, Larceny and Criminal Mischief, the release adds. On June 29, the Sa rasota County Sheriffs Ofce issued multiple trafc citations to an Ellenton man who not only failed to slow down or move over for law enforcement of cers on Interstate 75 but who also clipped the door of a patrol vehicle, just as a deputy was exiting it, and then kept driving, the ofce has reported. Deputy Chris Butler was making a traffic stop on northbound I-75 just south of Clark Road for a move over violation when a 2000 Cadillac hit the drivers side door of his SUV as Clark opened it, a news release says. The driver of the Cadillac, 77-year-old Robert Best, who failed to stop after the crash, was pulled over a short time later by another traf c deputy, the release notes. Best said he was not aware that he had hit anything or that 77-YEAR-OLD DRIVER CHARGED AFTER HITTING DEPUTYS VEHICLE Damage to a Cadillac that struck a deputys vehicle is evident in a photo taken by Sheriffs Ofce personnel. Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 106

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The airbag deployed in a deputys SUV after a driver struck it on Interstate 75, Sheriffs Ofce personnel reported. Contributed photo there was obvious da mage to his vehicle, the release adds. Best was cited for a Move Over Violation, Failure to Maintain Lane and Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage. In addition to the damage to Butlers SUV, the vehicle Butler originally had pulled over was struck by debris from the incident, resulting in minor damage, the release continues. Butler, w ho has been in the Sheriffs Ofce Trafc Unit for more than 15 years, previ ously served as the Field Training Ofcer, the release notes. He has attended numerous schools to learn about enforcement-related topics, it points out. He complained of a sore ankle and burning on his skin from the airbag deploying when the door of his SUV was struck, the release says. There were n o other injuries reported. Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 107

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The Sarasota C ounty Sheriffs Office has arrested two Miami men who were caught driving away with another mans boat and trailer, the ofce has announced. The victims son saw the suspects towing his fathers 15-foot Sailsh behind a white van on Friday night, June 27, and followed their vehicle as he called 911, a news release says. Deputies located the van headed southbound on Interstate 75 at a high rate of speed and pulled the suspects over near mile marker 179, the release adds. The van was reported stolen in Miami, and the driver, Nivaldo Echevarria, 24, had only a Florida identi cation card following four convictions for driving with a suspended license, the release points out. His passenger was identied as Ricardo Fuentes, 48, who was wanted by the MIAMI MEN ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH BOAT AND TRAILER THEFT Nivaldo Echevarria/Contributed photo A stolen boat and trailer are shown hitched to a van, also reported stolen, that Sheriffs deputies pulled over at mile marker 179 on Interstate 75, the Sheriffs Office reported. Contributed photo Ricardo Fuentes/Contributed photo Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 108

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Florida Parole Commission for a parole viola tion as a habitual offender for armed burglary and robbery, the release adds. Fuentes is charged with two counts of Grand Theft. Echevarria is charged with three counts of Grand Theft and one count each of Driving While License Suspended and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Because of additional evidence found in the van, detectives have contacted other jurisdic tions and the investigation is continuing, the release notes. The Sarasota County Sheriffs Office has arrested a Venice woman for allegedly steal ing jewelry from a friends home and pawning the items for cash, the ofce has announced. On June 22, the victim contacted the Sheriffs Ofce to report that all of her jewelry had been stolen from boxes she kept in dresser drawers, a news release says. The woman did not know when the items were taken because she had not worn her jewelry for some time, it adds. The victim, who lives alone, said the only person with access to her home was Michelle Utterback, 46, of 1348 Capri Isles Blvd., Venice, who has a key to the house and cares for the victims cat when she goes out of town, the release continues. Detectives checked local pawn activity and found that Utterback had pawned items twice in March and again in May that matched the descriptions of the stolen jewelry, the release says. When questioned, Utterback admitted to the crimes, it adds. Utterback, who is on 20 years probation for a Scheme to Defraud case in 2009, is charged with two counts of Grand Theft and three counts of False Verication on a Pawn Ticket. Additional charges are pending. % VENICE WOMAN CHARGED IN JEWELRY THEFT AND PAWNING CASE Michelle Utterback/Contributed photo Simply put, Crime Stoppers relies upon the cooperation between the police the media and the community to provide a flow of information about crime and criminals. Call: (941) 366-TIPS (8477) Click: Text: Text TIP109 plus your message to CRIMES (274637) All submitted tips are secure and anonymous Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 109

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INDEPENDENCE DAY MOSTLY FOR THE INDEPENDENTLY WEALTHY EDITORIAL OPINION EDITORIAL As Ame ricans gather around the country to celebrate Independence Day, the activities likely will feature outdoor-grilled foods, re works and well-meaning speeches about how wonderful our nation is and how wise our Founders were in starting us on the path to self-determination. And while there truly is much to celebrate about our way of life and the unique place our country has in history, there also is a dark side the cracks in our national faade of excep tionalism that reveal the two Americas described by former vice presidential nomi nee John Edwards. When the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the belief that all were gifted by the Creator with unalienable rights that included life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was both a legal indictment of British hegemony and an assertion that the Colonial peoples had earned through blood, sweat and toil the right to govern themselves, free of for eign interference. But the Declaration of Independence also was a philosophical treatise that set forth import ant principles in maintaining the affairs of the people, providing inspiration to some of our nations greatest statesmen. Now, 238 years later, many of those lofty ideals remain elusive for too great a portion of the populace. American lives have been lost at the hands of ot her Americans in the

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struggle to at tain the equality envisioned in the Declaration of Independence. And the pursuit of happiness has been compromised by the pernicious influence of a wealthy overclass that is every bit as oppressive as its counterparts in the British peerage from whom we declared independence in 1776. The so-called American Dream, rather than rooted in the principles of the Declaration of Independence, became a canard promul gated by Robber Barons in a post-slavery era to coerce the common people into providing more labor for fewer rewards. Horrendous working conditions, punishingly long hours and near starvation wages became the hall marks of the Gilded Age. By the end of the 1920s, the disparity in income and wealth between the overclass and the rest of the people was unprecedented in the history of the nation. And the unfettered means whereby that wealth was aggregated in fewer and fewer hands unbalanced the economy and plunged the entire world into the Great Depression. The economic policies that were adopted to reverse these excesses along with the global conict that was World War II restored some sense of equity to the rewards borne out of individual efforts in pursuit of happiness. A great middle class rose up in our nation, and parents could look forward to their children having better lives and greater ease than they did. The struggle for equality among all Americans continued with the Civil Rights movement. Fifty years ago this week, the signing of the Civil Rights Act by President Lyndon Johnson was a turning point in ending the efforts of rac ist majorities in individual states to oppress African-Americans. Tragically, the overclass which never relinquished its desire for oligarchic control of the nation has reasserted itself in the last quarter-century. Using modern means of mass communications and advances in propagandizing, the wealthy few in America have turned the common people against one another. Preying on ignorance and fear, the oligarchs have mobilized a large segment of the population to eschew their own self-inter ests in furtherance of a political philosophy that benets only their overlords. And, insidi ously, the oligarchs have gained control over many of the levers of power in our federal and state governments. Many of the economic protections that were put in place during the Great Depression have been dismantled, leading us into an almost equal economic cataclysm now known as the Great Recession. And despite the crushing blow dealt a large percentage of the popula tion by that recession, the wealthy suffered little. In fact, their wealth and power grew, so the disparity in income and wealth between the overclass and the rest of the people is greater than at any time since the late 1920s. Latter-day Robber Barons now preside over monolithic corporations that are global in Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 111

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scope, vir tually escap ing the ability of any one government to regulate or con trol them. They even have gained enough influence among justices of the Supreme Court of the United States to be declared not only inde pendent entities which was the intent of establishing corporations in the rst place but entities vested with the same rights as individuals, including the freedoms of speech and religion. The effect of these griev ous grants has been to magnify the outsized inuence of corporations in the makeup and conduct of our representative government, to the extent that Congress has become a virtual efdom of the oligarchy. The aggregation of wealth has led to a new superclass of billionaires, whose motivation is accumulating more and more wealth. Scant concern is evinced by them for the health and welfare of the nation. The 56 signers of t he Declaration of Independence challenged a ruling overclass, denying it any continued right to control the affairs of the people of the American Colonies. In doing so, they placed themselves and the nascent nation at great peril of mortal repercussions. Regardless, they committed to the cause by pledging their lives, [their] fortune s and [their] sacred honor. On th is Independence Day, we should reect on the billionaires and other members of the American overclass and how they would commit themselves to the preservation of our nation. Would they be willi ng to commit their lives, their for tunes and their sacred honor to advance the interests of the United States? Or are they concerned only with their own self-interests, to the detriment of our great nation? We must, as a people, recognize the verac ity of the words of the Declaration of Independence, that experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right them selves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. It is time to restore the Am erican Dream to an ideal of egalitarianism and fair play, with every American having the opportunity to achieve success, rather than the onerous work ethic that has brought so much suffer ing to so many for the enrichment of so few. It is time to contemplate a new, albeit democrat ically exercised, American Revolution ... this time from the tyra nny of obscene weal th. % The so-called American Dream, rather than rooted in the principles of the Declaration of Independence, became a canard promulgated by Robber Barons in a post-slavery era to coerce the common people into providing more labor for fewer rewards. Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 112

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COMMENTARY The fa ns are going wild. You can feel their energy and excitement. They have arrived 45 minutes early and are whispering to each other in anticipation about the show and we are still just in the lobby. It is a Sun day afternoon at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, and Derek Hough and his sister, Julianne, along with eight other dancers, will be performing during their Move Live tour. As a long-time fan of Derek, who demon strates amazing talent on Dancing with the Stars I am really looking forward to this live performance. Sitting in the third row, cen ter, gazing up onto the beautifully decorated stage, I really do feel as if I am at a theater on Broadway. The Van Wezel is sold out and lled with people of all genders and all ages proving once again that exceptional talent will always win out when it comes to attract ing people to a performance. Promptly at 2 p.m., the lights dim and the strobe lights appear, accompanied by loud, fast, high-energy music that serves to introduce the stars. Derek and Julianne are standing at the top of a stairway, surrounded by four other fantastic dancing couples. Black-and-white costumes sprinkled with sequins enhance the vibrancy of their movements in the shows opening number, and the audience loves it. Every routine w as excellent, but a couple of them stand out in my memory. The rst was an Argentine tango, lled with passion, per fect steps and ery music that reminded me of Buenos Aires. The brother and sister seem to be so in sync with each others thoughts and actions, they appear as one in a blur of whirl ing and turning. In the shows second half, I thoroughly enjoyed their tribute to American songs and dances from the 1920s to the present. Once again, the high energy evidenced by all the dancers, com bined with their amazingly perfect-looking bodies and their extraordinary speed as they switched from one dance rhythm to another, created a fabulous performance. I must have said, Wow at least a million times. Derek has great stage presence. When he addressed the audience, with his abundant folksy humor, and then literally recruited a few fans to dance on stage, the rest of us applauded and screamed in joy. I have never seen so many people having so much fun at the Van Wezel. They even gave the dancers standing ovations during many of the dance numbers, not wait ing until the routines ended to applaud. Personally, I can say that having watched a variety of marvelous entertainment over the past 15 years at the Van Wezel, this per formance is my all-time favorite. It certainly does not hurt to know that in my next life, I am coming back as Leslie Caron and I will be dancing with Gene Kelly in a remake of An Americ an in Paris % ODE TO DEREK By Harriet Cuthbert Contributing Writer COMMENTARY Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 113

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From children to World War II veterans, activeduty military personnel to representatives of the U.S. Government, about 2,800 people gathered on Saturday, June 28, to see Patriot Plaza unveiled at Sarasota National Cemetery. The new amphitheater was ofcially opened to the public in an event that paid tribute to the service and sacrice of veterans and their families, a Patterson Foundation news release pointed out. The $12 million venue was designed, con structed and fully funded by The Patterson Foundation the release says. The hour-long ceremony featured patriotic performances by the Venice Concert Band and the Jacobites Pipe and Drum Band, along with a memorial motorcycle ride-by and poetry recitals. This event was four years in the making, said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Venice Concert Band members are assembled for their performance. All photos by Norman Schimmel FOR ALL VETERANS MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY COME TOGETHER FOR THE DEDICATION OF PATRIOT PLAZA AT SARASOTA NATIONAL CEMETERY Staff Reports ALL THE REST ...

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The Patterson Foundation, in the release. Patriot Plaza will inspire visitors for gen erations to come, she added. Patriot Plaza is the result of a unique pub lic-private partnership initiated in 2010 between The Patterson Foundation and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration, the release explains. This is the rst time a Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 115

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private foundation has worked with the National Cemetery Administration on an enhancement of this magnitude for a national cemetery, it points out. While the community dedication marked the ofcial donation of the venue to the [Department of Veterans Affairs], The Patterson Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 116

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Poet Cedric Hameed takes the podium. Foundation has committed a $1 million endowment toward structural replace ment, the release says. Requests to use Patriot Plaza for events honoring veterans may be submitted to Sarasota National Cemetery at 922-7200. All photos are by Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel. % Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 117

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Glenn R. Powers, deputy undersecretary for eld programs in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, addresses the audience. Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 120

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U.S. Congressman Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, offers remarks. % Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 122

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YOUR LIFESTYLE GUIDE TO THE SUNCOAST 04 JULY The Gloria Musicae Singers present Patriotic Spectacular July 4, 4:30 p.m. First United Methodist Church, 104 S. Pineapple St., Sarasota. Tickets: $35 for general admission or $33.50 if purchased online ; student tickets, $15 at the door. Concert to feature traditional patriotic songs and tributes to Harold Arlen and Leonard Bernstein. Free parking in Zenith garage on Mira Mar Court. Information: 953-3368. 04+ JULY Florida Studio Theatre presents At the Hop Through July 6; times vary. Court Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $32 to $36. Information: 366-9000 or 04+ JULY Banyan Theater Company presents The Price by Arthur Miller Through July 13; times vary. Jane B. Cook Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $28.50 for a single performance; $52 for two of Banyans summer season plays; and $70 for three shows. The Stye of the Blind Pig by Phillip Hayes Dean to follow in July and Collected Stories by Donald Margulies in August. Information: banyantheater 04+ JULY FST presents Becoming Dr. Ruth Through July 27; times vary. Keating Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $34 to $44. Information: or 366-9000. 04+ JULY Allyn Gallup Gallery presents A Few Great, Big Pictures Through July 28; times vary. 1288 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Free. Information: 366-2454 or 04+ JULY FST Improv: Out of Bounds Match Up Through Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m. Brownes Lab Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $15. Information: 366-9000 or 04+ JULY UUCS Presents Jane Shannon: Works in Fabric Through Sept. 4; times vary. Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, Lexow Wing Gal lery. 3975 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. Free. Information: 371-4974 or the church website COMMUNITY CALENDAR Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 123

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The best of upcoming EVENTS Submit Calendar Events To 04+ JULY Dabbert Gallery presents Summer Showcase Through Sept. 29; times vary. 76 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Free. Featuring works by three sculptors, one printmaker, 15 painters, one pastel artist and one photographer. Informa tion: 955-1315 or 05+ JULY Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival July 5-6, free events. July 5, Powerboats by the Bay, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Centennial Park, 10th Street and U.S. 41, Sarasota; Miss Super Boat Grand Prix Bikini Contest, 3-4 p.m., Centennial Park, 10th Street and U.S. 41, Sarasota. July 6, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Grand Prix Boat Race, Lido Beach between New Pass and Big Pass. Information: 05+ JULY Bookstore1Sarasota presents Breakfast Serial Book Club July 5 and each succeeding Saturday during the summer. From 10:30-11 a.m., staffers will read to 3to 6-year-olds; from 11:15-11:45 a.m., they will read to 7to 9-year-olds. 1359 Main St., Sarasota. Information: or 365-7900. 08+ JULY Florida Studio Theatre presents Clearly Invisible Magic Up Close with Carl Seiger July 8 through Aug. 3; times vary. John C. Court Cabaret, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $32 to $36. Information: 366-9000 or 11+ JULY Florida Studio Theatre presents the Sixth Annual Improv Festival July 11-12; times vary. 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: weekend passes, $59; for one night of shows, $49; individual shows, $10 each; workshops, $29 per two-hour session. Information: 366-9000 or 12 JULY Venice Community Center presents One Night Rodeo July 12, 8-11 p.m.; doors open at 6:30 p.m. Center located at 326 Nokomis Ave., Venice. Tickets: $5. A Bradenton band, One Night Rodeo recently won the Great American Coun try and Music Nations Next Star Competition. More information and tickets: 861-1380. 19 JULY ALSO Youth presents The Story of My Life July 19, 7 p.m. Goldstein Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets $25; proceeds benet ALSO Youth. The semi-autobiographical serio-comedy will focus on the lives of Mark Bowers and Joey Panek. Information: 951-2576 or 23+ JULY Florida Studio Theatre presents Taking Shakespeare July 23 through Aug. 17; times vary. Gompertz Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Tickets: $32 to $36. This will be the plays U.S. premiere. Information: 366-9000 or Flori Sarasota News Leader July 4, 2014 Page 124

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Each week, Staff Photographer Norman Schimmel searches Sarasota County for iconic shots that underscore why the community is a favorite with residents and tourists alike. A PLACE OF CELEBRATION AND REMEMBRANCE SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS SCHIMMEL SIGHTINGS

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Planned Parenthood Of Southwest And Central Florida941-953-4060